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THE COUNTRY HOUSE LIBRARY 



BUNGALOWS By Henry H. Saylor 

THE HALF-TIMBER HOUSE 

By Allen W. Jackson 

CONCRETE AND STUCCO HOUSES 

By Oswald C. Hering 

ARCHITECTURAL STYLES FOR COUNTRY 
HOUSES 

A symposium by prominent architects 

RECLAIMING THE OLD HOUSE 

By Charles Edward Hooper 

THE DUTCH COLONIAL HOUSE 

By Aymar Embury, II. 

FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

By Lucy Abbot Throop 

THE COLONIAL HOUSE 

By Joseph Everett Chandler 

With other titles in preparation. 



McBRIDE, NAST & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 



FURNISHING 
THE HOME 

OF 
GOOD TASTE 



rr.- 



\ 

\ .Til-'" 



FURNISHING THE HOME 
OF GOOD TASTE 



A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE PERIOD STYLES IN 
[NTERIOR DECORATION WITH SUGGESTIONS AS 
TO THEIR EMPLOY^IENT IN THE HOMES OF TODAY 



BY 
LUCY" ABBOT THROOP 




NEW YORK 
McBRIDE, NAST & COMPANY 

1912 



Copyright, 1910, by 
The CaowELL Publishing Co. 

_Cop3aigbtT- 1911^ Ig tp, by 
1 Tr^fi^'fDE;' Nast^^ Co. 

iPlJ bLlC LlDRAR^i. 



P. 



1913 



\PuJ5l3sh«d,:*»it(fcei; 1912 



Contents 



Preface , . i .1 i., ,„ ,., . i 

Egypt and Greece . ., . ., . ., . ., ,., ,., „ .., ., „ 1 

The Renaissance in Italy ...... ., . . ., ,„ , 7 

The Development op Decoration in France ., . ., ,., i., ,. 17 

Louis XIV ., ,., ., ., ... ,,, ,., ,., ., 29 

The Regency and Louis XV . . . ., .. r.i ,., ., t., i., ,„ 37 

Louis XVI . , . ., . ., =., ., . ., ,., 47 

The Empire ., ,. . . 53 

English Furniture from Gothic Days to the Period of Queen 

Anne ., r., r., . . 59 

Queen Anne . .. ... ...... .. .. ,., ;., ,., ., ... 73 

Chippendale and the 18th Century in England ., ,., r.i .. . 79 

Robert Adam . . ,., . . ., ., „ . ,„ ,., .., ,., ,., ,., 91! 

Hepplewhite ... . . . ., ,., ,: .., . ,., ,., .., .., ,., ,., 97 

Sheraton . . . ,., ,., ., ;., . ,., . .., ,., ,„ ,., ., . 103 

A General Talk ... ,.: •.. .., ., :.: ,., .., ... ,„ „y ,., ,., ,.. m'- 

Georgian Furniture ,., ., .. ,., .., „, ., ,., ,., ,., ,., ,., ,., 135 

Furnishing with French Furniture ., ., r.i 1.1 i., ,., :., ,. 149 

Craftsman Furniture . . ,., ., .., .., ., t., w ., .., 1., ., 159 

Country Houses ., . ,., ., ,., .-., .., .., ,., ,., ., ,., ,., ,., 165 

The Nursery AND Play-rook ,.• -., .;t.i Yw^,-^, '/>.; ',,., .., ,., ,„ :., 175 

Curtains. . .. ,., ,., ,., ril'^.j ;4 i '"'' ';«' r" >' :•' ^'i >•' '• 181 

Rugs ...;...„ ,., \r,^^r,^y,%\ V»; *;.;i\,'-., r.i .. .: .. ■. 191 

Making the Porch More Liva'ble*. . ., ., ., r., . . . 211 

A List of Books on Period Styles and Furnishing . . . . . 218 



The Illustrations 



A modern dining-room. Period of Italian Renaissance Frontispiece 

Facing Page 
Modern Italian Renaissance fireplace and over-mantel ... 8 
Doorways and pilaster detail, Italian Renaissance . . . . 9 

Two Louis XIII chairs ,. . . 22 

A Gothic chair of the fifteenth century . ; 23 

A Louis XIV chair 32 

Louis XIV inlaid desk-table .... .33 

Louis XIV chair with underbracing . . ..,.;. .33 
Regency paneling, Metropolitan Museum of Art .. ,. ,., . 40 
A modern room showing Louis XV console tables . ,. . . 41 
A modern room in the white and gold paneling of Louis XV . 44 

Louis XV bergere ,. . . . 46 

Louis XVI panel from Versailles . . . ;. ,. . . .48 

Marie Antoinette's boudoir 49 

Louis XVI bench ;...... 50 

Louis XVI chair from Fontainebleau . . . ,. . . . 51 
Bed of Josephine . . . ,, i. ,. . . i. i. .. i. . 54 
American Empire sofa .. t., i. . . . i., i., i., i. . 65 

English carved oak chest . . . .60 

Apostles' Bed of the Tudor period 61 

Grinling Gibbons' carving . ,. . r. :• ■• i., i. i. i. 64 
Original Jacobean settle . . . . i. . i. i., .. i. . 65 

Reproductions of Jacobean chairs ...... i. . . 65 

Reproductions of the Queen Anne period . . . . . .72 

Reproduction of a William and Mary walnut chair ... 73 
Ribbon-back and Gothic type of Chippendale chairs . . . 78 
Chippendale mantel mirror showing French influence ... 79 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Facikg Page 

Chippendale fretwork tea-table .... 79 

Chippendale china cabinet 82 

Typical chairs of the eighteenth century — Dutch, Chippen- 
dale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton 83 

Chippendale and Hepplewhite sofas 86 

Adam mirror, block-front chest of drawers and Hepplewhite 

chair ,.,.,,., 87 

Two Adam mantels ,„,,... 9^ 

Reproductions of Adam painted furniture ., r.i ;., • .i • 93 
A modern Hepplewhite dining-room . ., . l.i ..i .i i»j !• 96 
Old Hepplewhite sideboard ....... i., . ;.., . 97 

Modern Hepplewhite settee .= ,. . . 97 

A Sheraton bureau . . . .... . . . ., . 104 

Sheraton desk and sewing-table . ., :., ...... 105 

Modern dining-room in white 112 

A modern staircase hall with rare tapestries and a Boulle clock 113 

Beauvais tapestries 124} 

Tapestry with heraldry design 125 

Flemish tapestry of the late fifteenth century . ., ., . . 125 

A group of old mirrors 140 

A modem Georgian bedroom 141 

Reproductions of Chinese Chippendale table and Hepplewhite 

desk 144 

Reproductions of Sheraton bureau and William and Mary 

bureau 145 

A modern room in the French manner . . ., ., ., . . 148 

Doorway detail of the above 149 

Doorway detail from the bedroom of the Empress, Compiegne 152 

Reproduction of Marie Antoinette's bed 153 

Modern Louis XVI bed in enamel and cane 153 

A craftsman living-room 160 

A fire-corner showing the craftsman's touch . . . . . 161 

A modern Georgian hall 164 

A rare block-front chest of drawers ....... 165 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Facing Page 
A modern Georgian dining-room . . .. ..i .... 168 

Library door showing a modern adaptation of the Renaissance 169 



Twin beds with cane head- and foot-boards .... 

William and Mary settee 

Modern Hepplewhite dressing-table ...... 

The shaped valance for formal curtains .... 

Informal curtain treatment for a summer home . 

A rare antique Persian rug, " The Judgment of Solomon 

Typical modern Bokhara rug 

Modern Kirmanshah rug 

Fine silk Persian rug . 

Antique Anatolian rug . 

Antique Saraband rug 

Antique Chinese rug . 

A comfortably furnished porch 

An uncovered terrace . . ,.j 



172 
173 
173 
184 
185 
192 
193 
193 
200 
200 
200 
201 
212 
213 



FURNISHING 
THE HOME 

OF 
GOOD TASTE 



Preface 

To try to write a history of furniture in a fairly short 
space is almost as hard as the square peg and round hole 
problem. No matter how one tries, it will not fit. One has 
to leave out so much of importance, so much of historic and 
artistic interest, so much of the life of the people that helps 
to make the subject vivid, and has to take so much for 
granted, that the task seems almost impossible. In spite 
of this I shall try to give in the following pages a general 
but necessarily short review of the field, hoping that it may 
help those wishing to furnish their homes in some special 
period style. The average person cannot study all the sub- 
ject thoroughly, but it certainly adds interest to the prob- 
lems of one's own home to know something of how the 
great periods of decoration grew one from another, how the 
influence of art in one country made itself felt in the next, 
molding and changing taste and educating the people to 
a higher sense of beauty. 

It is the lack of general knowledge which makes it possi- 
ble for furniture built on amazingly bad lines to be sold 
masquerading under the name of some great period. The 
customer soon becomes bewildered, and, unless he has a de- 
cided taste of his own, is apt to get something which will 



ii PREFACE 

prove a white elephant on his hands. One must have some 
standard of comparison, and the best and simplest way is 
to study the great work of the past. To study its rise and 
climax rather than the decline ; to know the laws of its per- 
fection so that one can recognize the exaggeration which 
leads to degeneracy. This ebb and flow is most interesting: 
the feeling the way at the beginning, ever growing surer 
and surer until the high level of perfection is reached; and 
then the desire to " gild the lily " leading to over-ornamenta- 
tion, and so to decline. However, the germ of good taste 
and the sense of truth and beauty is never dead, and asserts 
itself slowly in a transition period, and then once more one 
of the great periods of decoration is born. 

There are several ways to study the subject, one of the 
pleasantest naturally being travel, as the great museums, 
palaces, and private collections of Europe off*er the widest 
field. In this country, also, the museums and many private 
collections are rich in treasures, and there are many proud 
possessors of beautiful isolated pieces of furniture. If one 
cannot see originals the libraries will come to the rescue with 
many books showing research and a thorough knowledge 
and appreciation of the beauty and importance of the sub- 
ject in all its branches, 

I have tried to give an outlinq (which I hope the reader 
will care to enlarge for himself) , not from a collector's stand- 
point, but from the standpoint of the modern home-maker. 



PREFACE in 

to help him furnish his house consistently ,=--^ to try to spread 
the good word that period furnishing does not necessitate 
great wealth, and that it is as easy and far more interesting 
to furnish a house after good models, as to have it banal 
and commonplace. 

The first part of this little book is devoted to a short re- 
view of the great periods, and the second part is an effort to 
help adapt them to modern needs, with a few chapters added 
of general interest to the home-maker. 

A short bibliography is also added, both to express my 
thanks and indebtedness to many learned and delightful 
writers on this subject of house furnishing in all its branches, 
and also as a help to others who may wish to go more deeply 
into its different divisions than is possible within the covers 
of a book. 

I wish to thank the Editors of House and Garden and 
The Woman's Home Companion for kindly allowing me to 
reprint articles and portions of articles which have appeared 
in their magazines. 

I wish also to thank the owners of the different houses 
illustrated, and Messrs. Trowbridge and Livingston, archi- 
tects, for their kindness in allowing me to use photographs. 

Thanks are also due Messrs. Bergen & Orsenigo, Nahon k 
Company, Tiffany Studios, Joseph Wild & Co. and the John 
Somma Co. for the use of photographs to illustrate the re- 
production of period furniture and rugs of different types. 



^gypt and Greece 



Egypt and Greece 



THE early liistory of art in all countries is naturally 
connected more closely with architecture than with 
decoration, for architecture had to be developed be- 
fore the demand for decoration could come. But the two 
have much in conmion. Noble architecture calls for noble 
decoration. Decoration is one of the natural instincts of 
man, and from the earliest records of his existence we find him 
striving to give expression to it, we see it in the scratched 
pieces of bone and stone of the cave dwellers, in the designs 
of savage tribes, and in Druidical and Celtic remains, and 
in the great ruins of Yucatan. The meaning of these monu- 
ments may be lost to us, but we understand the spirit of 
trying to express the sense of beauty in the highest way 
possible, for it is the spirit which is still moving the world, 
and is the foundation of all worthy achievement. 

Egypt and Assyria stand out against the almost impen- 
etrable curtain of pre-historic days in all the majesty of 
their so-called civilization. Huge, massive, aloof from the 
world, their temples and tombs and ruins remain. Research 
has given us the key to their religion, so we understand 
much of the meaning of their wall-paintings and the build- 
ings themselves. The behef of the Egyptian that life was 
a short passage and his house a mere stopping-place on the 



a FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

way to the tomb, which was to be his permanent dwelling- 
place, explains the great care and labor spent on the pyra- 
mids, chapels, and rock sepulchers. They embalmed the 
dead for all eternity and put statues and images in the 
tombs to keep the mummy company. Colossal figures of 
their gods and goddesses guarded the tombs and temples, 
and still remain looking out over the desert with their 
strange, inscrutable Egyptian eyes. The people had tech- 
nical skill which has never been surpassed, but the great size 
of the pyramids and temples and sphinxes gives one the 
feeling of despotism rather than civilization; of mass and 
permanency and the wonder of man's achievement rather 
than beauty, but they personify the mystery and power of 
ancient Egypt. 

The columns of the temples were massive, those of Karnak 
being seventy feet high, with capitals of lotus flowers and 
buds strictly conventionalized. The walls were covered with 
hieroglyphics and paintings. Perspective was never used, 
and figures were painted side view except for the eye and 
shoulder. In the tombs have been found many household 
belongings, beautiful gold and silver work, beside the offer- 
ings put there to appease the gods. Chairs have been 
found, which, humorous as it may sound, are certainly the 
ancestors of Empire chairs made thousands of years later. 
This is explained by the influence of Napoleon's Egyptian 
campaign, but there is something in common between the 



EGYPT AND GREECE 8 

two times so far apart, of ambition and pride, of grandeur 
and colossal enterprise. 

Greece may well be called the Mother of Beauty, for 
with the Greeks came the dawn of a higher civilization, a 
striving for harmony of line and proportion, an ideal clear, 
high and persistent. When the Dorians from the northern 
part of Greece built their simple, beautiful temples to their 
gods and goddesses they gave the impetus to the movement 
which brought forth the highest art the world has known. 
Traces of Egyptian influence are to be found in the earliest 
temples, but the Greeks soon rose to their own great heights. 
The Doric column was thick, about six diameters in height, 
fluted, growing smaller toward the top, with a simple capi- 
tal, and supported the entablature. The horizontal lines 
of the architrave and cornice were more marked than the 
vertical lines of the columns. The portico with its row of 
columns supported the pediment. The Parthenon is the 
most perfect example of the Doric order, and shattered as it 
is by time and man it is still one of the most beautiful build- 
ings in the world. It was built in the time of Pericles, from 
about 460 to 435 B. c.^ and the work was superintended by 
Phidias, who did much of the work himself and left the mark 
of his genius on the whole. 

The Ionic order of architecture was a development of the 
Doric, but was lighter and more graceful. The columns 
were more slender and had a greater number of flutes and 



4 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

the capitals formed of scrolls or volutes were more orna- 
mental. 

The Corinthian order was more elaborate than the Ionic 
as the capitals were foliated (the acanthus being used), the 
columns higher, and the entablature more richly decorated. 
This order was copied by the Romans more than the other 
two as it suited their more florid taste. All the orders have 
the horizontal feeling in common (as Gothic architecture 
has the vertical), and the simple plan with its perfect har- 
mony of proportion leaves no sense of lack of variety. 

The perfection attained in architecture was also attained 
in sculpture, and we see the same aspiration toward the ideal, 
the same wonderful achievement. This purity of taste of 
the Greeks has formed a standard to which the world has 
returned again and again and whose influence will continue 
to be felt as long as the world lasts. 

The minor arts were carried to the same state of perfec- 
tion as their greater sisters, for the artists and artisans had 
the same noble ideal of beauty and the same unerring taste. 
We have carved gems and coins, and wonderful gold orna- 
ments, painted and silver vases, and terra-cotta figurines, to 
show what a high point the household arts reached. No 
work of the great Grecian painters remains ; Apelles, Zeuxis, 
are only names to us, but from the wall paintings at Pompeii 
where late Greek influence was strongly felt we can imagine 
how charming the decorations must have been. Egypt and 
Greece were the torch bearers of civilization. 



The Renaissance in Italy 



The Renaissance in Italy 

THE Gothic period has been treated in later chapters 
on France and England, as it is its development in 
these countries which most affects us, but the Renais- 
sance in Italy stands alone. So great was its strength that 
it could supply both inspiration and leaders to other coun- 
tries, and still remain preeminent. 

It was in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that this 
great classical revival in Italy came, this re-birth of a true 
sense of beauty which is called the Renaissance. It was an 
age of wonders, of great artistic creations, and was one of 
the great epochs of the world, one of the turning points of 
human existence. It covered so large a field and was so 
many-sided that only careful study can give a full reahza- 
tion of the giants of intellect and power who made its great- 
ness, and who left behind them work that shows the very 
quintessence of genius. 

Italy, stirring slightly in the fourteenth century, woke 
and rose to her greatest heights in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth. The whole people responded to the new joy of 
life, the love of learning, the expression of beauty in all its 
forms. All notes were struck, — gay, graceful, beautiful, 
grave, cruel, dignified, reverential, magnificent, but all with 



8 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

an exuberance of life and power that gave to Italian art its 
great place in human culture. The great names of the pe- 
riod speak for themselves, — Michelangelo, Raphael, Botti- 
celli, Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea del Sarto, Machia- 
velli, Benvenuto Cellini, and a host of others. 

The inspiration of the Renaissance came largely from the 
later Greek schools of art and literature, Alexandria and 
Rhodes and the colonies in Sicily and Italy, rather than 
ancient Greece. It was also the influence which came to 
ancient Rome at its most luxurious period. The impor- 
tance of the taking of Alexandria and Constantinople in 
1453 must not be underestimated, as it drove scholars from 
the great libraries of the East carrying their manuscripts 
to the nobles and priests and merchant princes of Italy who 
thus became enthusiastic patrons of learning and art. This 
later type of Greek art lacked the austerity of the ancient 
type, and to the models full of joy and beauty and suffering, 
the Italians of the Renaissance added the touch of their own 
temperament and made them theirs in the glowing, rich and 
astounding way which has never been equaled and probably 
never will be. Perfection of line and beauty was not suffi- 
cient, the soul with its capacity for joy and suffering, "the 
soul with all its maladies " as Pater says, had become a fac- 
tor. The impression made upon ^lichelangelo by seeing 
the Laocoon disinterred is vividly described by Longfel- 
low — 




Trowbridge & Livingston, architects 

An exquisite and true Renaissance feeling is shown in the pilasters 



THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY » 

" Long, long years ago, 
Standing one morning near the Baths of Titus, 
I saw the statue of Laocoon 
Rise from its grave of centuries like a ghost 
Writhing in pain; and as it tore away 
The knotted serpents from its limbs, I heard. 
Or seemed to hear, the cry of agony 
From its white parted lips. And still I marvel 
At the three Rhodian artists, by whose hands 
This miracle was wrought. Yet he beholds 
Far nobler works who looks upon the ruins 
Of temples in the Forum here in Rome. 
If God should give me power in my old age 
To build for him a temple half as grand 
As those were in their glory, I should count 
My age more excellent than youth itself. 
And all that I have hitherto accomplished 
As only vanity." 

"It was an age productive in personalities, many-sided, 
centralized, complete. Artists and philosophers and those 
whom the action of the world had elevated and made keen, 
breathed a common air and caught light and heat from each 
other's thoughts. It is this unity of spirit which gives unity 
to all the various products of the Renaissance, and it is to 
this intimate alliance with mind, this participation in the 
best thoughts which that age produced, that the art of Italy 
in the fifteenth century owes much of its grave dignity and 
influence." * 

* Walter Pater: "Studies in the Renaissance." 



10 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

It is to this unity of the arts we owe the fact that the 
art of beautifying the home took its proper place. During 
the Middle Ages the Church had absorbed the greater part 
of the best man had to give, and home life was rather a hit 
or miss affair, the house was a fortress, the family posses- 
sions so few that they could be packed into chests and easily 
moved. During the Renaissance the home ideal grew, and, 
although the Church still claimed the best, home hfe began 
to have comforts and beauties never dreamed of before. 
The walls glowed with color, tapestries and velvets added 
their beauties, and the noble proportions of the marble halls 
made a rich background for the elaborately carved furniture. 

The doors of Italian palaces were usually inlaid with 
woods of light shade, and the soft, golden tone given by the 
process was in beautiful, but not too strong, contrast with 
the marble architrave of the doorway, which in the fifteenth 
century was carved in low relief combined with disks of 
colored marble, sliced, by the way, from Roman temple pil- 
lars. Later as the classic taste became stronger the carving 
gave place to a plain architrave and the over-door took the 
form of a pediment. 

Mantels were of marble, large, beautifully carved, with 
the fireplace sunk into the thickness of the wall. The over- 
mantel usually had a carved panel, but later, during the 
sixteenth century, this was sometimes replaced by a picture. 
The windows of the Renaissance were a part of the decora- 



THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY 11 

tion of the room, and curtains were not used in our modern 
manner, but served only to keep out the diraughts. In 
those days the better the house the simpler the curtains. 
There were many kinds of ceilings used, marble, carved 
wood, stucco, and painting. They were elaborate and beau- 
tiful, and always gave the impression of being perfectly sup- 
ported on the well-proportioned cornice and walls. The 
floors were usually of marble. Many of the houses kept 
to the plan of mediaeval exteriors, great expanses of plain 
walls with few openings on the outsides, but as they were 
built around open courts, the interiors with their colonnades 
and open spaces showed the change the Renaissance had 
brought. The Riccardi Palace in Florence and the Palazzo 
della Cancelleria in Rome, are examples of this early type. 
The second phase was represented by the great Bramante, 
whose theory of restraining decoration and emphasizing the 
structure of the building has had such important influence. 
One of his successors was Andrea Palladio, whose work made 
such a deep impression on Inigo Jones. The Library of 
St. Mark's at Venice is a beautiful example of this part. 
The third phase was entirely dominated by Michelangelo. 

The furniture, to be in keeping with buildings of this 
kind, was large and richly carved. Chairs, seats, chests, 
cabinets, tables, and beds, were the chief pieces used, but 
they were not plentiful at all in our sense of the word. The 
chairs and benches had cushions to soften the hard wooden 



12 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

seats. The stuffs of the time were most beautiful Genoese 
velvet, cloth of gold, tapestries, and wonderful embroideries, 
all lending their color to the gorgeous picture. The carved 
marriage chest, or cassone, is one of the pieces of Renais- 
sance furniture which has most often descended to our own 
day, for such chests formed a very important part of the 
furnishing in every household, and being large and heavy, 
were not so easily broken as chairs and tables. Beds were 
huge, and were architectural in form, a base and roof sup- 
ported on four columns. The classical orders were used, 
touched with the spirit of the time, and the fluted columns 
rose from acanthus leaves set in an urn supported on lion's 
feet. The tester and cornice gave scope for carving and 
the panels of the tester usually had the lovely scrolls so 
characteristic of the period. The headboard was often 
carved with a coat-of-arms and the curtains hung from in- 
side the cornice. 

Grotesques were largely used in ornament. The name 
is derived from grottoes, as the Roman tombs being ex- 
cavated at the time were called, and were in imitation of the 
paintings found on their walls, and while they were fantas- 
tic, the word then had no unkindly humorous meaning as 
now. Scrolls, dolphins, birds, beasts, the human figure, 
flowers, everything was called into use for carving and paint- 
ing by genius of the artisans of the Renaissance. They 
loved their work and felt the beauty and meaning of every 



THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY 13 

line they made, and so it came about that when, in the course 
of years, they traveled to neighboring countries, they spread 
the influence of this great period, and it is most interesting 
to see how on the Italian foundation each country built her 
own distinctive style. 

Like all great movements the Renaissance had its begin- 
ning, its splendid climax, and its decline. 



The Devolopment of Decoration in 

France 



The Development of Decoration in 
France 

WHEN Caesar came to Gaul he did more than see 
and conquer ; he absorbed so thoroughly that we 
have almost no knowledge of how the Gauls 
lived, so far as household effects were concerned. The 
character which descended from this Gallo-Roman race to 
the later French nation was optimistic and beauty-loving, 
with a strength which has carried it through many dark days. 
It might be said to be responsible for the French sense of 
proportion and their freedom of judgment which has enabled 
them to hold their important place in the history of art and 
decoration. They have always assimilated ideas freely but 
have worked them over until they bore the stamp of their 
own individuality, often gaining greatly in the process. 

One of the first authentic pieces of furniture is a bahut 
or chest dating from sometime in the twelfth century and 
belonging to the Church of Obazine. It shows how furni- 
ture followed the Hues of architecture, and also shows that 
there was no carving used on it. Large spaces were prob- 
ably covered with painted canvas, glued on. Later, when 
panels became smaller and the furniture designs were modi- 

17 



18 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

fied, moldings, etc., began to be used. These bahuts or 
huches, from which the term liuchiers came (meaning the 
Corporation of Carpenters), were nothing more than chests 
standing on four feet. From all sources of information on 
the subject it has been decided that they were probably the 
chief pieces of furniture the people had. They served as a 
seat by day and, with cushions spread upon them, as a bed 
by night. They were also used as tables with large pieces 
of silver dresse or arranged upon them in the daytime. 
From tliis comes our word " dresser " for the kitchen shelves. 
In those days of brigands and wars and sudden death, the 
household belongings were as few as possible so that the 
trouble of speedy transportation would be small, and every- 
thing was packed into the chests. As the idea of comfort 
grew a little stronger, the number of chests grew, and when 
a traveling party arrived at a stopping-place, out came the 
tapestries and hangings and cushions and silver dishes, which 
were arranged to make the rooms seem as cheerful as possi- 
ble. The germ of the home ideal was there, at least, but it 
was hard work for the arras and the " ciel " to keep out the 
cold and cover the bare walls. When life became a little 
more secure and people learned something of the beauty of 
proportion, the rooms showed more harmony in regard to the 
relation of open spaces and walls, and became a decoration 
in themselves, with the tapestries and hangings enhancing 
their beauty of line. It was not until some time in the fif- 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF DECORATION IN FRANCE 19 

teenth century that the habit of traveling with all one's be- 
longings ceased. 

The year 1000 was looked forward to with abject terror, 
for it was firmly believed by all that the world was then com- 
ing to an end. It cast a gloom over all the people and para- 
lyzed all ambition. When, however, the fatal year was 
safely passed, there was a great religious thanksgiving and 
everyone joined in the praise /bf a merciful God. The 
semi-circular arch of the Komanesque style gave way to the 
pointed arch of the Gothic, and wonderful cathedrals slowly 
lifted their beautiful spires to the sky. The ideal was to 
build for the glory of God and not only for -the eyes of man, 
so that -exquisite carving was lavished upop all parts of the 
work. This deeply reverent feeling lasted through the best 
period of Gothic architecture, and while household furniture 
was at a standstill church furniture became more and more 
beautiful, for in the midst of the religious fervor nothing 
seemed too much to do for the Church. Slowly it died out, 
and a secular attitude crept into decoration. One finds gro- 
tesque carvings appearing on the choir stalls and other parts 
of churches and cathedrals and the standard of excellence 
was lowered. 

The chest, table, wooden arm-chair, bed, and bench, were 
as far as the imagination had gone in domestic furniture, and 
although we read of wonderful tapestries and leather hang- 
ings and clothes embroidered in gold and jewels, there was 



20 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

no comfort in our sense of the word, and those brave knights 
and fair ladies had need to be strong to stand the hardships 
of life. Glitter and show was the ideal and it was many 
more years before the standard of comfort and refinement 
gained a firm foothold. 

Gothic architecture and decoration declined from the per- 
fection of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the over- 
decorated, flamboyant Gothic of the fifteenth century, and 
it was in the latter period that the transition began between 
the Gothic and the Renaissance epochs. 

The Renaissance was at its height in Italy in the fifteenth 
century, and its influence began to make itself felt a little in 
France at that time. 

When the French under Louis XII seized Milan, the 
magnificence of the court of Ludovico Sforza, the great duke 
of Milan, made such an impression on them that they could 
not rest content with the old order, and took home many 
beautiful things. Italian artisans were also imported, and 
as France was ready for the change, their lessons were 
learned and the French Renaissance came slowly into ex- 
istence. This transition is well shown by the Chateau de 
Gaillon, built by Cardinal d'Amboise. Gothic and Renais- 
sance decoration were placed side by side in panels and fur- 
niture, and we also find some pure Gothic decoration as late 
as the early part of the sixteenth century, but they were in 
parts of France where tradition changed slowly. Styles 



THE DEVELOPMENT OP DECORATION IN FRANCE 21 

overlap in every transition period, so it is often difficult to 
place the exact date on a piece of furniture ; but the old dies 
out at last and gives way to the new. 

With the accession of Frances I in 1515 the Renaissance 
came into its own in France. He was a great patron of 
art and letters, and under his fostering care the people knew 
new luxuries, new beauties, and new comforts. He invited 
Andrea del Sarto and Leonardo da Vinci to come to France. 
The word Renaissance means simply revival and it is not 
correctly used when we mean a distinct style led or inspired 
by one person. It was a great epoch, with individuality as 
its leading spirit, led by the inspiration of the Italian artists 
brought from Italy and molded by the genius of France. 
This renewal of classic feeling came at the psychological mo- 
ment, for the true spirit of the great Gothic period had died. 
The Renaissance movements in Italy, France, England and 
Germany all drew their inspiration from the same source, 
but in each case the national characteristics entered into the 
treatment. The Italians and Germans both used the gro- 
tesque a great deal, but the Germans used it in a coarser 
and heavier way than the Italians, who used it esthetically. 
The French used more especially conventional and beauti- 
ful floral forms, and the inborn French sense of the fitness 
of things gave the treatment a wonderful charm and beauty. 
If one studies the French chateaux one will feel the true 
beauty and spirit of the times ^ — Blois with its history of 



22 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

many centuries, and then some of the purely Renaissance 
chateaux, like Chambord. Although great numbers of 
Italian artists came to France, one must not think they did 
all the beautiful work of the time. The French learned 
quickly and adapted what they learned to their own needs, 
so that the delicate and graceful decorations brought from 
Italy became more and more individualized until in the reign 
of Henry II the Renaissance reached its high- water mark. 
The furniture of the time did not show much change or 
become more varied or comfortable. It was large and solid 
and the chairs had the satisfactory effect of good propor- 
tion, while the general squareness of outline added to the 
feeling of solidity. Oak was used, and later walnut. The 
chair legs were straight, and often elaborately turned, and 
usually had strainers or under framing. Cushions were sim- 
ply tied on at first, but the knowledge of upholstering was 
gaining ground, and by the time of Louis XIII was well 
understood. Cabinets had an architectural effect in their 
design. The style of the decorative motive changed, but it 
is chiefly in architecture and the decorative treatment of it 
that one sees the true spirit of the Renaissance. Two men 
who had great influence on the style of furniture of the time 
were Androuet du Cerceau and Hugues Sambin. They 
published books of plates that were eagerly copied in all 
parts of France. Sambin's influence can be traced in the 
later style of Louis XIV. 




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By courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 

This Gothic chair of the 16th century shows the beautiful linen-fold 

design in the carving on the lower panels, and also the keyhole which 

made the chest safe when traveling 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF DECORATION IN FRANCE 23 

The marriage of Henry II and Catherine de Medici nat- 
urally continued the strong Italian influence. The portion 
of the Renaissance called after Henry II lasted about sev- 
enty-five years, and corresponds with the Elizabethan period 
in England. 

During the regency of Marie de Medici, Flemish influence 
became very strong, as she invited Rubens to Paris to dec- 
orate the Luxembourg. There were also many Italians 
called to do the work, and as Rubens had studied in Italy, 
Italian influence was not lacking. 

Degeneracy began during the reign of Henry IV, as or- 
nament became meaningless and consistency of decoration 
was lost in a maze of superfluous design. 

It was in the reign of Louis XIII that furniture for the 
first time became really comfortable, and if one examines 
the engravings of Abraham Bosse one will see that the rooms 
have an air of homelikeness as well as richness. The char- 
acteristic chair of the period was short in the back and square 
in shape — it was usually covered with leather or tapestry, 
fastened to the chair with large brass nails, and the back and 
seat often had a fringe. A set of chairs usually consisted 
of arm-chairs, plain chairs, folding stools and a lit-de-repos. 
Many of the arm-chairs were entirely covered with velvet 
or tapestry, or, if the woodwork showed, it was stained to 
harmonize with the covering on the seat and back. 

The twisted columns used in chairs, bedposts, etc., were 



M FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

borrowed from Italy and were very popular. Another 
shape often used for chair legs was the X that shows Flemish 
influence. The lit-de-repos, or chaise-longue, was a seat 
about six feet long, sometimes with arms and sometimes not, 
and with a mattress and bolster. The beds were very elab- 
orate and very important in the scheme of decoration, as the 
ladies of the time held receptions in their bedrooms and the 
king and nobles gave audiences to their subjects while in 
bed. These latter were therefore necessarily furnished with 
splendor. The woodwork was usually covered with the same 
material as the curtains, or stained to harmonize. The can- 
opy never reached to the ceiling but was, from floor to top, 
about 7 ft. 3 in. high, and the bed was 6j ft. square. The 
curtains were arranged on rods and pulleys, and when closed 
this "lit en housse " looked like a huge square box. The 
counterpane, or "coverture de parade," was of the curtain 
material. The four corners of the canopy were decorated 
with bunches of plumes or panache, or with a carved wooden 
ornament called ponmie, or with a " bouquet " of silk. The 
beds were covered with rich stuff's, like tapestry, silk, satin, 
velvet, cloth-of-gold and silver, etc., all of which were em- 
broidered or trimmed with gold or silver lace. One of the 
features of a Louis XIII room was the tapestry and hang- 
ings. A certain look of dignity was given to the rooms by 
the general square and heavy outlines of the furniture and 
the huge chimney-pieces. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF DECORATION IN FRANCE 25 

The taste for cabinets kept up and the cabinets and presses 
were large, sometimes divided into two parts, sometimes 
with doors, sometimes with open frame underneath. The 
tables were richly carved and gilded, often ornamented with 
bronze and copper. The cartouche was used a great deal in 
decoration, with a curved surface. This rounded form ap- 
pears in the posts used in various kinds of furniture. When 
rectangles were used they were always broader than high. 
The garlands of fruit were heavy, the cornucopias were slen- 
der, with an astonishing amount of fruit pouring from them, 
and the work was done in rather low relief. Carved and 
gilded mirrors were introduced by the Italians as were also 
sconces and glass chandeliers. It was a time of great mag- 
nificence, and shadowed forth the coming glory of Louis 
XIV. It seems a style well suited to large dining-rooms 
and libraries in modern houses of importance. 



Louis XIV 



Louis XIV 

IT is often a really difficult matter to decide the exact 
boundary lines between one period and another, for the 
new style shows its beginnings before the old one is 
passed, and the old style still appears during the early years 
of the new one. It is an overlapping process and the years 
of transition are ones of great interest. As one period fol- 
lows another it usually shows a reaction from the previous 
one; a somber period is followed by a gay one; the excess 
of ornament in one is followed by restraint in the next. It 
is the same law that makes us want cake when we have had 
too much bread and butter. 

The world has changed so much since the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries that it seems almost impossible that we 
should ever again have great periods of decoration like those 
of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Then the mon- 
arch was supreme. '^ JL'etat c*est moif* said Louis XIV, 
and it was true. He established the great Gobelin works 
on a basis that made France the authority of the world and 
firmly imposed his taste and his will on the country. Now 
that this absolute power of one man is a thing of the past, 
we have the influence of many men forming and molding 
something that may turn into a beautiful epoch of decora- 

29 



30 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

tion, one that will have in it some of the feeling that brought 
the French Renaissance to its height, though not like it, for 
we have the same respect for individuality working within 
the laws of beauty that they had. 

The style that takes its name from Louis XIV was one 
of great magnificence and beauty with dignity and a certain 
solidity in its splendor. It was really the foundation of 
the styles that followed, and a great many people look upon 
the periods of Louis XIV, the Regency, Louis XV and 
Louis XVI as one great period with variations, or ups and 
downs ^--^ the complete swing and return of the pendulum. 

Louis XIV was a man with a will of iron and made it ab- 
solute law during his long reign of seventy-two years. His 
ideal was splendor, and he encouraged great men in the 
intellectual and artistic world to do their work, and shed 
their glory on the tiixie. Conde, Turenne, Colbert, Moliere, 
Corneille, La Fontaine, Racine, Fenelon, Boulle, Le Brun, 
are a few among the long and wonderful list. He was in- 
deed Louis the Magnificent, the Sun King. 

One of the great elements toward achieving the stupen- 
dous results of this reign was the establishment of the " Man- 
ufacture des Meubles de la Couronne," or, as it is usually 
called, " Manufacture des Gobelins." Artists of all kinds 
were gathered together and given apartments in the Louvre 
and the wonderfully gifted and versatile Le Brun was put 
at the head. Tapestry, goldsmiths' work, furniture, jew- 



LOUIS XIV 31 

ielry, etc., were made, and with the royal protection and in- 
terest France rose to the position of world-wide supremacy 
in the arts. Le Brun had the same taste and love of mag- 
nificence as Louis, and had also extraordinary executive 
ability and an almost unlimited capacity for work, com- 
bined with the power of gathering about him the most emi- 
nent artists of the time. Andre Charles Boulle was one, 
and his beautiful cabinets, commodes, tables, clocks, etc., 
are now almost priceless. He carried the inlay of metals, 
tortoise-shell, ivory and beautiful woods to its highest ex- 
pression, and the mingling of colors with the exquisite work- 
manship gave most wonderful effects. Sheets of white 
metal or brass were glued together and the pattern was then 
cut out. When taken apart the brass scrolls could be fitted 
exactly into the shell background, and the shell scrolls into 
the brass background, thus making two decorations. The 
shell background was the more highly prized. The designs 
usually had a Renaissance feeling. The metal was softened 
in outline by engraving, and then ormolu mounts were 
added. Ormolu or gilt bronze mounts, formed one of the 
great decorations of furniture. The most exquisite work- 
manship was lavished on them, and after they had been cast 
they were cut and carved and polished until they became 
worthy ornaments for beautiful inlaid tables and cabinets. 
The taste for elaborately carved and gilded frames to 
chairs, tables, mirrors, etc., developed rapidly. Mirrors 



SS FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

were made by the Gobelins works and were much less ex- 
pensive than the Venetian ones of the previous reign. Walls 
were painted and covered with gold with a lavish hand. 
Tapestries were truly magnificent with gold and silver 
threads adding richness to their beauty of color, and were 
used purely as a decoration as well as in the old utilitarian 
way of keeping out the cold. The Gobelins works made at 
this time some of the most beautiful tapestries the world 
has known. The massive chimney-pieces were superseded 
by the " petite-cheminee" and had great mirrors over them or 
elaborate over-mantels. The whole air of furnishing and 
decoration changed to one of greater lightness and bril- 
liancy. The ideal was that everything, no matter how 
small, must be beautiful, and we find the most exquisite 
workmanship lavished on window-locks and door-knobs. 

In the early style of Louis XIV, we find many trophies 
of war and mythological subjects used in the decorative 
schemes. The second style of this period was a softening 
and refining of the earlier one, becoming more and more 
delicate until it merged into the time of the Regency. It 
was during the reign of Louis XIV that the craze for 
Chinese decoration first appeared. La Chinoiserie it was 
called, and it has daintiness and a curious fascination about 
it, but many inappropriate things were done in its name. 
The furniture of the time was firmly placed upon the ground, 
the arm-chairs had strong straining-rails, square or curved 




One of a set of three rare Louis XIV chairs, beautifully carved and gilded, and 
said to have belonged to the great Louis himself 




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LOUIS XIV 83 

backs, scroll arms carved and partly upholstered and stuffed 
seats and backs. The legs of chairs were usually tapering 
in form and ornamented with gilding, or marquetry, or 
richly carved, and later the feet ended in a carved leaf de- 
sign. Some of the straining-rails were in the shape of the 
letter X, with an ornament at the intersection, and often 
there was a wooden molding below the seat in place of fringe. 
Many carved and gilded chairs had gold fringe and braid 
and were covered with velvet, tapestry or damask. 

There were many new and elaborate styles of beds that 
came into fashion at this time. There was the lit dfange, 
which had a canopy that did not extend over the entire bed, 
and had no pillars at the foot, the curtains were drawn back 
at the head and the counterpane went over the foot of the 
bed. There was the lit d'alcove, the lit de hout, lit clos, lit 
de glace, with a mirror framed in the ceiling, and many 
others. A lit de parade was like the great bed of Louis XIV 
at Versailles. 

Both the tall and bracket clocks showed this same love of 
ornament and they were carved and gilded and enriched with 
chased brass and wonderful inlay by BouUe. The dials also 
were beautifully designed. Consoles, tables, cabinets, etc., 
were all treated in this elaborate way. Many of the ceilings 
were painted by great artists, and those at Versailles, 
painted by Le Brun and others, are good examples. There 
was always a combination of the straight hne and the curve. 



34 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

a strong feeling of balance, and a profusion of ornament in 
the way of scrolls, garlands, shells, the acanthus, anthemion, 
etc. The moldings were wide and sometimes a torus of 
laurel leaves was used, but in spite of the great amount of 
ornament lavished on everything, there is the feeling of bal- 
ance and symmetry and strength that gives dignity and 
beauty. 

Louis was indeed fortunate in having the great Colbert 
for one of his ministers. He was a man of gigantic intel- 
lect, capable of originating and executing vast schemes. It 
was to his policy of state patronage, wisely directed, and 
energetically and lavishly carried out, that we owe the 
magnificent achievements of this period. 

Everywhere the impression is given of brilliancy and splen- 
dor — gold on the walls, gold on the furniture, rich velvets 
and damasks and tapestries, marbles and marquetry and 
painting, furniture worth a king's ransom. It all formed 
a beautiful and fitting background for the proud king, who 
could do no wrong, and the dazzling, care-free people who 
played their brilliant, selfish parts in the midst of its splen- 
dor. They never gave a thought to the great mass of the 
common people who were over-burdened with taxation ; they 
never heard the first faint mutterings of discontent which 
were to grow, ever louder and louder, until the blood and 
horror of the Revolution paid the debt. 



The Regency and Louis XV 



The Regency and Louis XV 

WHEN Louis XIV died in 1715, his great- 
grandson, Louis XV, was but five years old, so 
Philippe, Due d' Orleans, became Regent. Dur- 
ing the last years of Louis XIV's life the court had resented 
more or less the gloom cast over it by the influence of Ma- 
dame de Maintenon, and turned with avidity to the new ruler. 
He was a vain and selfish man, feeling none of the responsi- 
bilities of his position, and living chiefly for pleasure. The 
change in decoration had been foreshadowed in the closing 
years of the previous reign, and it is often hard to say 
whether a piece of furniture is late Louis XIV or Regency. 
The new gained rapidly over the old, and the magnificent 
and stately extravagance of Louis XIV turned into the 
daintier but no less extravagant and rich decoration of the 
Regency and Louis XV. One of the noticeable changes 
was that rooms were smaller, and the reign of the boudoir 
began. It has been truly said that after the death of Louis 
XIV " came the substitution of the finery of coquetry for 
the worship of the great in style." There was greater va- 
riety in the designs of furniture and a greater use of carved 
metal ornament and gilt bronze, beautifully chased. The 
ornaments took many shapes, such as shells, shaped foliage, 

37 



38 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

roses, seaweed, strings of pearls, etc., and at its best there 
was great beauty in the treatment. 

It was during the Regency that the great artist and sculp- 
tor in metal, Charles Cressant, flourished. He was made 
eheniste of the Regent, and his influence was always to keep 
up the traditions when the reaction against the severe might 
easily have led to degeneration. There are beautiful exam- 
ples of his work in many of the great collections of furniture, 
notably the wonderful commode in the Wallace collection. 
The dragon mounts of ormolu on it show the strong influence 
the Orient had at the time. He often used the figures of 
women with great delicacy on the corners of his furniture, 
and he also used tortoise-shell and many colored woods in 
marquetry, but his most wonderful work was done in brass 
and gilded bronze. 

In 1723, when Louis was thirteen years old, he was de- 
clared of age and became king. The influence of the Re- 
gent was, naturally, still strong, and unfortunately did much 
to form the character of the young king. Selfishness, pleas- 
ure, and low ideals, were the order of court life, and paved 
the way for the debased taste for rococo ornament which was 
one marked phase of the style of Louis XV. 

The great influence of the Orient at this time is very no- 
ticeable. There had been a beginning of it in the previous 
reign, but during the Regency and the reign of Louis XV 
it became very marked. '' Singerie '' and "Chinoiserie " 



THE REGENCY AND LOUIS XV 39 

were the rage, and gay little monkeys clambered and climbed 
over walls and furniture with a careless abandon that had a 
certain fascination and charm in spite of their being mon- 
keys. The " Salon des Singes " in the Chateau de Chantilly 
gives one a good idea of this. The style was easily over- 
done and did not last a great while. 

During this time of Oriental influence lacquer was much 
used and beautiful lacquer panels became one of the great 
features of French furniture. Pieces of furniture were sent 
to China and Japan to be lacquered and this, combined with 
the expense of importing it, led many men in France to try 
to find out the Oriental secret. Le Sieur Dagly was sup- 
posed to have imported the secret and was established at the 
Gobelins works where he made what was called " vernis de 
Gobelins/' 

The Martin family evolved a most characteristically 
French style of decoration from the Chinese and Japanese 
lacquers. The varnish they made, called ^'' vernis Martin/' 
gave its name to the furniture decorated by them, which was 
well suited to the dainty boudoirs of the day. All kinds of 
furniture were decorated in this way ^- sedan chairs and even 
snuff-boxes, until at last the supply became so great that 
the fashion died. There are many charming examples of it 
to be seen in museums and private collections, but the mod- 
ern garish copies of it in many shops give no idea of the 
charm of the original. Watteau's delightful decorations 



40 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

also give the true spirit of the time, with their gayety and 
f rivoHty showing the Arcadian affectations ^- the fad of the 
moment. 

As the time passed decoration grew more and more ornate, 
and the followers of Cressant exaggerated his traits. One 
of these was Jules Aurele Meissonier, an Italian by birth, 
who brought with him to France the decadent Italian taste. 
He had a most marvelous power of invention and lavished 
ornament on everything, carrying the rocaille style to its ut- 
most limit. He broke up all straight lines, put curves and 
convolutions everywhere, and rarely had two sides alike, for 
symmetry had no charms for him. The curved endive dec- 
oration was used in architraves, in the panels of overdoors 
and panel moldings, everywhere it possibly could be used, in 
fact. His work was in great demand by the king and nobil- 
ity. He designed furniture of all kinds, altars, sledges, 
candelabra and a great amount of silversmith's work, and 
also published a book of designs. Unfortunately it is this 
rococo style which is meant by many people when they speak 
of the style of Louis XV. 

Louis XV furniture and decoration at its best period is 
extremely beautiful, and the foremost architects of the day 
were undisturbed by the demand for rococo, knowing it was 
a vulgarism of taste which would pass. In France, bad as 
it was, it never went to such lengths as it did in Italy and 
Spain. 




This valuable example of Regency paneling can be seen at the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, New York 



THE REGENCY AND LOUIS XV 41 

The easy generalization of the girl who said the difference 
between the styles of Louis XV and Louis XVI was like 
the difference in hair, one was curly and one was straight, 
has more than a grain of truth in it. The curved line was 
used persistently until the last years of Louis XV's time, but 
it was a beautiful, gracious curve, elaborate, and in furni- 
ture, richly carved, which was used during the best period. 
The decline came when good taste was lost in the craze for 
rococo. 

Chairs were carved and gilded, or painted, or lacquered, 
and also beautiful natural woods were used. The sofas and 
chairs had a general square appearance, but the framework 
was much curved and carved and gilded. They were up- 
holstered in silks, brocades, velvets, damasks in flowered de- 
signs, edged with braid. Gobelin, Aubusson and Beauvais 
tapestry, with Watteau designs, were also used. Nothing 
more dainty or charming could be found than the tapestry 
seats and chair backs and screens which were woven espe- 
cially to fit certain pieces of furniture. The tapestry 
weavers now used thousands of colors in place of the nine- 
teen used in the early days, and this enabled them to copy 
with great exactness the charming pictures of Watteau and 
Boucher. The idea of sitting on beautiful ladies and gentle- 
men airily playing at country life, does not appeal to our 
modern taste, but it seems to be in accord with those days. 

Desks were much used and were conveniently arranged 



4^ FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

with drawers, pigeon-holes and shelves, and roll-top desks 
were made at this time. Commodes were painted, or richly 
ornamented with lacquer panels, or panels of rosewood or 
violet wood, and all were embellished with wonderful bronze 
or ormolu. Many pieces of furniture were inlaid with lovely 
Sevres plaques, a manner which is not always pleasing in 
effect. There were many different and elaborate kinds 
of beds, taking their names from their form and drap- 
ing. '' Lit d'anglaise " had a back, head-board and foot- 
board, and could be used as a sofa. '' Lit a Romaine " had 
a canopy and four festooned curtains, and so on. 

The most common form of salon was rectangular, with 
proportions of 4 to 3, or 2 to 1. There were also many 
square, round, octagonal and oval salons, these last being 
among the most beautiful. They all were decorated with 
great richness, the walls being paneled with carved and 
gilded — or partially gilded ^ — wood. Tapestry and brocade 
and painted panels were used. Large mirrors with elab- 
orate frames were placed over the mantels, with panels above 
reaching to the cornice or cove of the ceiling, and large mir- 
rors were also used over console tables and as panels. The 
paneled overdoors reached to the cornice, and windows were 
also treated in this way. Windows and doors were not 
looked upon merely as openings to admit air and light and 
human beings, but formed a part of the scheme of decoration 
of the room. There were beautiful brackets and candelabra 



THE REGENCY AND LOUIS XV 43 

of ormolu to light the rooms, and the boudoirs and salons, 
with their white and gold and beautifully decorated walls 
and gilded furniture, gave an air of gayety and richness, ex- 
travagance and beauty. 

An apartment in the time of Louis XV usually had a 
vestibule, rather severely decorated with columns or pilasters 
and often statues in niches. The first ante-room was a wait- 
ing-room for servants and was plainly treated, the wood- 
work being the chief decoration. The second ante-room had 
mirrors, console tables, carved and gilded woodwork, and 
sometimes tapestry was used above a wainscot. Dining- 
rooms were elaborate, often having fountains and plants in 
the niches near the buffet. Bedrooms usually had an alcove, 
and the room, not counting the alcove, was an exact square. 
The bed faced the windows and a large mirror over a con- 
sole table was just opposite it. The chimney faced the prin- 
cipal entrance. 

A " chamhre en niche '' was a room where the bed space 
was not so large as an alcove. The designs for sides of 
rooms by Meissonier, Blondel, Briseux Cuilles and others 
give a good idea of the arrangement and proportions of the 
different rooms. The cabinets or studies, and the garde 
robes, were entered usually from doors near the alcove. The 
ceilings were painted by Boucher and others in soft and 
charming colors, with cupids playing in the clouds, and other 
subjects of the kind. Great attention was given to clocks 



44 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

and they formed an important and beautiful part of the dec- 
oration. 

The natural consequence of the period of excessive rococo 
with its superabundance of curves and ornament, was that, 
during the last years of Louis's reign, the reaction slowly 
began to make itself felt. There was no sudden change to 
the use of the straight line, but people were tired of so much 
lavishness and motion in their decoration. There were other 
influences also at work, for Robert Adam had, in England, 
established the classic taste, and the excavations at Pompeii 
were causing widespread interest and admiration. The fact 
is proved that what we call Louis XVI decoration was well 
known before the death of Louis XV, by his furnishing Lu- 
ciennes for Madam Du Barri in almost pure Louis XVI 
style. 



Louis XVI 



Louis XVI 

LOUIS XVI came to the throne in 1774, and 
reigned for nineteen years, until that fatal year of 
'93. He was kind, benign, and simple, and had no 
sympathy with the life of the court during the preceding 
reign. Marie Antoinette disliked the great pomp of court 
functions and liked to play at the simple life, so shepherd- 
esses, shepherd's crooks, hats, wreaths of roses, watering-pots 
and many other rustic symbols became the fashion. 

Marie Antionette was but fifteen years old when in 1770 
she came to France as a bride, and it is hardly reasonable 
to think that the taste of a young girl would have originated 
a great period of decoration, although the idea is firmly fixed 
in many minds. It is known that the transition period was 
well advanced before she became queen, but there is no doubt 
that her simpler taste and that of Louis led them to ac- 
cept with joy the classical ideas of beauty which were slowly 
gaining ground. As dauphin and dauphiness they naturally 
had a great following, and as king and queen their taste was 
paramount, and the style became established. 

Architecture became more simple and interior decoration 
followed suit. The restfulness and beauty of the straight line 
appeared again, and ornament took its proper place as a dec- 

i7 



m FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

oration of the construction, and was subordinate to its de- 
sign. During the period of Louis XVI the rooms had rec- 
tangular panels formed by simpler moldings than in the 
previous reign, with pilasters of delicate design between the 
panels. The overdoors and mantels were carried to the cor- 
nice and the paneling was usually of oak, painted in soft 
colors or white and gilded. Walls were also covered with 
tapestry and brocade. Some of the most characteristic marks 
of the style are the straight tapering legs of the furniture, 
usually fluted, with some carving. Fluted columns and 
pilasters often had metal quills filling them for a part of the 
distance at top and bottom, leaving a plain channel between. 
The laurel leaf was used in wreath form, and bell flowers 
were used on the legs of furniture. Oval medallions, sur- 
mounted by a wreath of flowers and a bow-knot, appear very 
often, and in about 1780 round medallions were used. Fur- 
niture was covered with brocade or tapestry, with shepherds 
and shepherdesses or pastoral scenes for the design. The 
gayest kinds of designs were used in the silks and brocades; 
ribbons and bow-knots and interlacing stripes with flowers 
and rustic symbols scattered over them. Curtains were less 
festooned and cut with great exactness. The canopies of 
beds became smaller, until often only a ring or crown held 
the draperies, and it became the fashion to place the bed side- 
ways, '' vu de face/' 




From Versailles. Beautiful paneling was one of the dis- 
tinctive features of all periods of the 18th century 




The boudoir of Marie Ami'.iiiette, sliowing T'oinpeiian influence 



LOUIS XVI 49 

iThere was a great deal of beautiful ornament in gilded 
(bronze and ormolu on the furniture, and many colored woods 
.were used in marquetry. The fashion of using Sevres plaques 
in inlay was continued. There was a great deal of white 
and colored marble used and very fine ironwork was made. 
Riesener, Roentgen, Gouthiere, Fragonard and Boucher are 
some of the names that stand out most distinctly as authors 
of the beautiful decorations of the time. Marie Antoinette's 
boudoir at Fontainebleau is a perfect example of the style 
and many of the other rooms both there and at the Petit 
Trianon show its great beauty, gayety and dignity combined 
with its richness and magnificence. 

The influence of Pompeii must not be overlooked in study- 
ing the style of Louis XVI, for it appeared in much of the 
decoration of the time. The beautiful little boudoir of the 
Marquise de Serilly is a charming example of its adaptation. 
The problem of bad proportion is also most interestingly over- 
come. The room was too high for its size, so it was divided 
into four arched openings separated by carved pilasters, and 
the walls covered with paintings. The ceiling was darker than 
the walls, which made it seem lower, and the whole color 
scheme was so arranged that the feeling of extreme height 
was lessened. The mantel is a beautiful example of the 
period. This room was furnished about 1780-82. 

Compared to the lavish curves of the style of Louis XV, 



60 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

the fine outlines and the beautiful ornament of Louis XVI 
appear to some people cold, but if they look carefully at the 
matter, they will find them not really so. The warmth of 
the Gallic temperament still shows through the new garb, giv- 
ing life and beauty to the dainty but strong furniture. 

If one studies the examples of the styles of Louis XIV, 
Louis XV and Louis XVI that one finds in the great palaces, 
collections, museums and books of prints and photographs, 
one will see that the wonderful foundation laid by Louis 
XIV was still there in the other two reigns. During the 
time of Louis XVI the pose of rustic simplicity was a very 
sophisticated pose indeed, but the reaction from the rocaille 
style of Louis XV led to one of the most beautiful styles of 
decoration that the world has seen. It had dignity, true 
beauty and the joy of life expressed in it. 



^he Empire 



T^he Empire 



THE French Revolution made a tremendous change in 
the production of beautiful furniture, as royalty and 
the nobility could no longer encourage it. Many of 
the great artists died in poverty and many of them went to 
other countries where life was more secure. 

After the Revolution there was wholesale destruction of 
the wonderful works of art which had cost such vast sums to 
collect. Nothing was to remain that would remind the 
people of departed kings and queens, and a committee on art 
was appointed to make selections of what was to be saved 
and what was to be destroyed. That committee of " tragic 
comedians " set up a new standard of art criticism ; it was not 
the artistic merits of a piece of tapestry, for instance, that 
interested them, but whether a king or queen dared show their 
heads upon it. If so, into the flames it went. Thousands of 
priceless things were destroyed before they finished their 
dreadful work. 

When Napoleon came into power he turned to ancient 
Rome for inspiration. The Imperial Csesars became his 
ideal and gave him a wide field in which to display his love 
for splendor, uncontrolled by any true artistic sense. It gave 
decoration a blow from which it was hard to recover. 

53 



64 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

Massive furniture without real beauty of line, loaded with 
ormolu, took the place of the old. The furniture was simple 
in constiiiction with little carving, until later when all kinds 
of animal heads and claws, and animals never seen by man, 
and horns of plenty, were used to support tables and chairs 
and sofas. Everywhere one turned the feeling of martial 
grandeur was in the air. Ormolu mounts of bay wreaths, 
torches, eagles, military emblems and trophies, winged 
figures, the sphinx, the bee, and the initial N, were used on 
furniture, and these same motives were used in wall decora- 
tion. The furniture was left the natural color of the wood, 
and mahogany, rosewood, and ebony, were used. Veneer 
was also extensively used. The front legs of chairs were 
usually straight, and the back legs slightly curved. Beds 
were massive, with head and foot-board of even height, and 
the tops rolled over into a scroll. Swans were used on the 
arms of chairs and sofas and the sides of beds. Tables were 
often round, with tripod legs ; in fact, the tripod was a great 
favorite. There was a great deal of inlay of the favorite 
emblems but little carving. Plain columns with Doric caps 
and metal ornaments were used. The change in the use of 
color was very marked, for deep brown, blue and other dark 
colors were used instead of the light and gay ones of the pre- 
vious period. The materials used were usually of solid colors 
with a design in golden yellow, a wreath, or a torch, or the bee, 
or one of the other favorite emblems being used in a spot 




The bed of Josephine 



THE EMPIRE 66 

design, or powdered on. Some of the color combinations in 
the rooms we read of sound quite alarming. 

Since the time of the Empire, France has done as the rest 
of the world has, gone without any special style. 



English Furniture from Gothic Days to 
the Period of Queen Anne 



English Furniture from Gothic Days 
to the Period of Queen Anne 

THE early history of furniture in all countries is very 
much the same — there is not any. We know about 
kings and queens, and war and sudden death, and 
fortresses and pyramids, but of that which the people used 
for furniture we know very little. Research has revealed 
the mention in old manuscripts once in a while of benches and 
chests, and the Bayeux tapestry and old seals show us that 
William the Conquerer and Richard Coeur de Lion sat on 
chairs, even if they were not very promising ones, but at best 
it is all very vague. It is natural to suppose that the early 
Saxons had furniture of some kind, for, as the remains of 
Saxon metalwork show great skill, it is probable they had skill 
also in woodworking. 

In England, as in France, the first pieces of furniture that 
we can be sure of are chests and benches. They served all 
purposes apparently, for the family slept on them by night 
and used them for seats and tables by day. The bedding 
was kept in the chests, and when traveling had to be done 
all the family possessions were packed in them. There is 
an old chest at Stoke d'Abernon church, dating from the 
thirteenth century, that has a little carving on it, and another 

59 



60 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

at Brampton church of the twelfth or thirteenth century 
that has iron decorations. Some chests show great freedom, 
in the carving, St. George and the Dragon and other stories 
being carved in high relief. 

Nearly all the existing specimens of Gothic furniture are 
ecclesiastical, but there are a few that were evidently for 
household use. These show distinctly the architectural treat- 
ment of design in the furniture. Chairs were not commonly 
used until the sixteenth century. Our distinguished an- 
cestors decided that one chair in a house was enough, and that 
was for the master, while his family and friends sat on 
benches and chests. It is a long step in comfort and manners 
from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Later the guest 
of honor was given the chair, and from that may come the 
saying that a speaker " takes the chair." Gothic tables were 
probably supported by trestles, and beds were probably very 
much like the early sixteenth century beds in general shape. 
There were cupboards and armoires also, but examples are 
very rare. From an old historical document we learn that 
Henry III, in 1233, ordered the sheriff to attend to the 
painting of the wainscoted chamber in Winchester Castle 
and to see that " the pictures and histories were the same as 
before." Another order is for having the wall of the king's 
chamber at Westminster " painted a good green color in imi- 
tation of a curtain." These painted walls and stained glass 
that we know they had, and the tapestry, must have given a 




An Apcstles bed of the Tudor period, so-called from the carved 
panels of the back. The over elaboration of the late Tudor work 
corresponded in time with France's deterioration in the reign of 

Henry IV 



ENGLISH FURNITURE 61 

cheerful color scheme to the houses of the wealthy class even 
if there was not much comfort. 

The history of the great houses of England, and also the 
smaller manor-houses, is full of interest in connection with 
the study of furniture. There are many manor-houses that 
show all the characteristics of the Gothic, Renaissance, Tudor 
and Jacobean periods, and from them we can learn much 
of the life of the times. The early ones show absolute sim- 
plicity in the arrangement, one large hall for everything, 
and later a small room or two added. The fire was on the 
floor and the smoke wandered around until it found its way 
out at the opening, or louvre, in the roof. Then a chimney 
was built at the dais end of the hall, and the mantelpiece be- 
came an important part of the decoration. The hall was 
divided by " screens " into smaller rooms, leaving the re- 
mainder for retainers, and causing the clergy to inveigh 
against the new custom of the lord of the manor " eating 
in secret places." The staircase developed from the early 
winding stair about a newel or post to the beautiful broad 
stairs of the Tudor period. These were usually six or seven 
feet broad, with about six wide easy steps and then a landing, 
and the carving on the balusters was often very elaborate 
and sometimes very beautiful^ a ladder raised to the nth 
power. 

Slowly the Gothic period died in England and slowly the 
Renaissance took its place. There was never the gayety of 



62 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

decorative treatment that we find in France, but the English 
workmen, while keeping their own individuality, learned a 
tremendous amount from the Italians who came to the coun- 
try. Their influence is shown in the Henry Vllth Chapel 
in Westminster Abbey, and in the old part of Hampton 
Court Palace, built by Cardinal Wolsey. 

The religious troubles between Henry VIII and the Pope 
and the change of religion helped to drive the Italians from 
the country, so the Renaissance did not get such a firm foot- 
hold in England as it did in France. The mingling of 
Gothic and Renaissance forms what we call the Tudor period. 
During the time of Elizabeth all trace of Gothic disappeared, 
and the influence of the Germans and Flemings who came 
to the country in great numbers, helped to shorten the in- 
fluence of the Renaissance. The over-elaboration of the 
late Tudor time corresponded with the deterioration shown 
in France in the time of Henry IV. The Hall of Gray's 
Inn, the Halls of Oxford, the Charterhouse and the Hall 
of the Middle Temple are all fine examples of the Tudor 
period. 

We find very few names of furniture makers of those 
days ; in fact, there are very few names known in connection 
with the buildings themselves. The word architect was little 
used until after the Renaissance. The owner and the " sur- 
veyor " were the people responsible, and the plans, directions 
and details given to the workmen were astonishingly meager. 



ENGLISH FURNITURE 63 

The great charm that we all feel in the Tudor and Ja- 
cobean periods is largely due to the beautiful paneled walls. 
Their woodwork has a color that only age can give and that 
no stain can copy. The first panels were longer than 
the later ones. Wide use was made of the beautiful " linen- 
fold " design in the wainscoting, and there was also much 
elaborate carving and strapwork. Scenes like the tempta- 
tion of Adam and Eve were represented, heads in circular 
medallions, and simply decorative designs were used. In 
the days of Elizabeth it became the fashion to have the 
carving at the top of the paneling with plain panels below. 
Tudor and Jacobean mantelpieces were most elaborate and 
w^ere of wood, stone, or marble richly carved, to say nothing 
of the beautiful plaster ones, and there are many fine ex- 
amples in existence. They were fond of figure decoration, 
and many subjects were taken from the Bible. The over- 
mantels were decorated with coats-of-arms and other carv- 
ing, and the entablature over the fireplace often had Latin 
mottoes. The earliest firebacks date from the fifteenth cen- 
tury. Coats-of-arms and many curious designs were used 
upon them. 

The furniture of the Tudor period was much carved, 
and was made chiefly of oak. Cornices of beds and cabinets 
often had the egg-and-dart molding used on them, and the 
S-curve is often seen opposed on the backs of settees and 
chairs. It has a suggestion of a dolphin and is reminiscent 



64* FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

of the dolphins of the Renaissance. The beds were very- 
large, the " great bed of Ware " being twelve feet square. 
The cornice, the bed-head, the pedestals and pillars support- 
ing the cornice were all richly carved. Frequently the pil- 
lars at the foot of the bed were not connected with it, but 
supported the cornice which was longer than the bed. The 
" Courtney bedstead," dated 1593, showing many of the 
characteristics of the ornament of the time, is lOSj inches 
high, 94 inches long, 68 inches wide. The majority of the 
beds were smaller and lower, however, and the pillars usually 
rose out of drum-like members, huge acorn-like bulbs that 
were often so large as to be ugly. They appeared also on 
other articles of furniture. When in good proportion, with 
pillars tapering from them, they were very effective, and 
gradually they grew smaller. Some of the beds had the 
four apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, carved on 
the posts. They were probably the origin of the nursery 
rhyme : 

..™,.,.^,. «« Pour corners to my bed, 

Four angels round my head, 
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, 
Bless the bed that I lie on." 

Bed hanging were of silk, velvet, damask, wool damask, 
tapestry, etc., and there were fine linen sheets and blankets 
and counterpanes of wool work. The chairs were high- 




Original Jacobean settle with tapestry covering. These pieces 
furniture range in price between $900 and $1,400 



of 




Fine reproductions of Jacobean chairs of the time of 
Charles II. The carved front rail balances the carv- 
ing on the back perfectly 



ENGLISH FURNITURE 65 

"backed, of solid oak with cushions. There were also jointed 
stools, folding screens, chests, cabinets, tables with carpets 
(table covers), tapestry hangings, curtains, cushions, silver 
sconces, etc. 

The Jacobean period began with James I, and lasted 
until the time of William and Mary, or from 1603 to about 
1689. In the early part there was still a strong Tudor feel- 
ing, and toward the end foreign influence made itself felt 
until the Dutch under William became paramount. Inigo 
Jones did his great work at this time in the Palladian style 
of architecture. His simpler taste did much to reduce the 
exaggeration of the late Tudor days. 

Chests of various kinds still remained of importance. 
Their growth is interesting : first the plain ones of very early 
days, then panels appeared, then the pointed arch with its 
architectural effect, then the low-pointed arch of Tudor 
and early Jacobean times, and the geometrical ornament. 
Then came a change in the general shape, a drawer being 
added at the bottom, and at last it turned into a complete 
chest of drawers. 

Cabinets or cupboards were also used a great deal, and 
the most interesting are the court- and livery-cupboards. 
The derivation of the names is a hit ohscure, but the court 
cupboard probably comes from the French court, short. 
The first ones were high and unwieldy and the later ones 
were lower with some enclosed shelves. They were used for 



66 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

a display of plate, much as the modern sideboard is used. 
The number of shelves was limited by rank; the wife of a 
baronet could have two, a countess three, a princess four, a 
queen five. They were beautifully carved, very often, the 
doors to the enclosed portions having heads, Tudor roses, 
arches, spindle ornaments and many other designs common 
to the Tudor and Jacobean periods. They had a silk 
" carpet " put on the shelves with the fringe hanging over 
the ends, but not the front, and on this was placed the silver. 

The livery-cupboard was used for food, and the word 
probably comes from the French livrer, to deliver. It had 
several shelves enclosed by rails, not panels, so the air could 
circulate, and some of them had open shelves and a drawer 
for hnen. They were used much as we use a serving-table, 
or as the kitchen dresser was used in old New England days. 
In them were kept food and drink for people to take to their 
bedrooms to keep starvation at bay until breakfast. 

Drawing-tables were very popular during Jacobean times. 
They were described as having two ends that were drawn out 
and supported by sliders, while the center, previously held 
by them, fell into place by its own weight. Another char- 
acteristic table was the gate-legged or thousand-legged table, 
that was used so much in our own Colonial times. There 
were also round, oval and square tables which had flaps sup- 
ported by legs that were drawn out. Tables were almost 
invariably covered with a table cloth. 



ENGLISH FURNITURE 67 

Some of the chairs of the time of James I were much 
like those of Louis XIII, having the short back covered with 
leather, damask, or tapestry, put on with brass or silver nails 
and fringe around the edge of the seat. The chief char- 
acteristic of the chairs of this time was solidity, with the 
ornament chiefly on the upper parts, which were molded 
oftener than carved, with the backs usually high. A plain 
leather chair called the " Cromwell chair," was imported 
from Holland. The solid oak back gave way at last to 
the half solid back, then came the open back with rails, and 
then the Charles II chair, with its carved or turned uprights, 
its high back of cane, and an ornamental stretcher like the top 
of the chair back, between the front legs. This is a very 
attractive feature, as it serves to give balance of decoration 
and also partly hides the plain stretcher from sight. A 
typical detail of Charles II furniture is the crown supported 
by cherubs or opposed S-curves. James II used a crown 
and palm leaves. 

Grinling Gibbons did his wonderful work in carving at 
this time, using chiefly pear and lime wood. The greater 
part of his work was wall decoration, but he made tables, 
mirrors and other furniture as well. The carving was often 
in lighter wood than the background, and was in such high 
relief that portions of it had often to be " pinned " together, 
for it seemed almost in the round. Evelyn discovered Gib- 
bons in a little shop working away at such a wonderful piece 



68 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

of carving that he could not rest until he had taken him to 
Sir Christopher Wrenn. From this introduction came the 
great amount of work they did together. The influence of 
his work was still seen in the early eighteenth century. 

The room at Knole House that was furnished for James I 
is of great interest, as it is the same to-day as when first fur- 
nished. The bed is said to have cost <£8,000. As it is one 
of the show places of England one should not miss a chance 
of seeing it. 

Until the time of the Restoration the furniture of England 
could not compare in sumptuousness with that of the Con- 
tinental countries. England, besides having a simpler point 
of view, was in a perpetual state of unrest. The honest and 
hard-working English joiners and carpenters adapted in a 
plain and often clumsy way the styles of the different for- 
eigners who came to the country. Through it all, however, 
they kept the touch of national character that makes the 
furniture so interesting, and they often did work of great 
beauty and worth. When Charles II came to the throne 
he brought with him the ideas of France, where he had spent 
so many years, and the change became very marked. The 
natural Stuart extravagance also helped to form his taste, 
and soon we hear of much more elaborate decoration through- 
out the land. 

Many of the country towns were far behind London in 
the style of furniture, and this explains why some furniture 



ENGLISH FURNITURE 69 

that is dated 1670, for instance, seems to belong to an earlier 
time. The famous silver furniture of Knole House, Seven- 
oaks, belongs to this time. Evelyn mentions in his diary that 
the rooms of the Duchess of Portsmouth were full of " Japan 
cabinets and screens, pendule clocks, greate vases of wrought 
plate, tables, stands, chimney furniture, sconces, branches, 
baseras, etc., all of massive silver," and later he mentions 
again her " massy pieces of plate, whole tables and stands of 
incredible value." 

In the reign of Wilham and Mary, Dutch influence was 
naturally very pronounced, as William disliked everything 
English. The English, being now well grounded in the 
knowledge of construction, took the Dutch ideas as a foun- 
dation and developed them along their own lines, until we 
have the late Queen Anne type made by Chippendale. 

The change in the style of chairs was most marked and 
noticeable. They were more open backed than in Charles's 
time and had two uprights and a spoon- or fiddle-shaped 
splat to support the sitter's back. The chair backs took 
more the curve of the human figure, and the seats were 
broader in front than in the back; the cabriole legs were 
broad at the top and ended in claw or pad feet, and there 
were no ^straining-rails. The shell ^vas a common form of 
ornament, and all crowns and cherubs had disappeared. In- 
lay and marquetry came to be generously used, but there 
had been many cabinets of Dutch marquetry brought to 



70 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

England even before the time of William and Mary. 
Flower designs in dyed woods, shell, mother-of-pearl, and 
ivory were used. 

The marquetry clocks made at this time are wonderful 
and characteristic examples of the work, and are among the 
finest clocks ever made for beauty of line and finish, and 
proportion. 

Although marquetry and inlay have much in common 
there is one great difference between them, and they should 
not be used as synonymous terms. In marquetry the entire 
surface of the article is covered with pieces of different 
colored woods cut very thin and glued on. It is like a mod- 
ern picture puzzle done with regard to the design. In inlay, 
the design only is inlaid in the wood, leaving a much larger 
plain background. Veneering is a thin layer of beautiful 
and often rare wood glued to a foundation of some cheaper 
kind. The tall clocks and cabinets of William and Mary's 
time and the wonderful work of BouUe in France are ex- 
amples of marquetry, the fine furniture of Hepplewhite and 
Sheraton are masterly examples of inlay. 



Queen Anne 



'^f*^*^*^ 





Examples of fine reproductions. The lacquer chairs 
carry out the true feeling of the old with great skill 




A reproduction of a walnut chair with cane 
seat and back, of the William and Mary- 
period 



Queen Anne 

^ ^ >^^V UEEN ANNE" furniture is a very elastic 
IB term, for it is often used to cover the reigns of 
^^ William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I, 
and a part of the reign of George II, or, in other words, 
all the time of Dutch influence. The more usual method is 
to leave out William and Mary, but at best the classification 
of furniture is more or less arbitrary, for in England, as well 
as other countries, the different styles overlap each other. 
Chippendale's early work was distinctly influenced by the 
Dutch. 

Walnut superseded oak in popularity, and after 1720 ma- 
hogany gradually became the favorite. There was a good 
deal of walnut veneering done, and the best logs were saved 
for the purpose. Marquetry died out and gave place to carv- 
ing, and the cabriole leg, one of the chief marks of Dutch in- 
fluence, became a firmly fixed style. The carving was put on 
the knees and the legs ended in claw and ball and pad feet. 
Some chairs were simply carved with a shell or leaf or scroll 
on top rail and knees of the legs. In the more elaborately 
carved chairs the arms, legs, splat, and top rail were all carved 
with acanthus leaves, or designs from Gibbons's decoration. 
Chairs were broad in the seat and high of back with wide 

73 



74 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

splats, often decorated with inlay, in the early part of the pe- 
riod. The top rail curved into the side uprights, and the seat 
was set into a rebate or box-seat. The chair backs slowly 
changed in shape, becoming broader and lower, the splat 
ceased to be inlaid and was pierced and carved, and the whole 
chair assumed the shape made so famihar to us by Chip- 
pendale. 

Tables usually had cabriole legs, although there were some 
gate- or thousand-legged, tables, and card tables, writing- 
tables, and flap-tables, were all used. It was in the Queen 
Anne period that highboys and lowboys made their first ap- 
pearance. 

In the short reign of Anne it also became the fashion to 
have great displays of Chinese porcelain, and over-mantels, 
cupboards, shelves and tables were covered with wonderful 
pieces of it. Addison, in Sir Roger de Coverley, himiorously 
describes a lady's library of the time. 

"... And as it was some time before the lady came 
to me I had an opportunity of turning over a great many 
of her books, which were ranged in a very beautiful order. 
At the end of the folios (which were finely bound and gilt)! 
were great jars of china placed one above another in a very 
noble piece of architecture. The quartos were separated 
from the octavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a 
delightful pyramid. The octavos were bounded by tea- 
dishes of all shapes, colors, and sizes, which were so disposed 
on a wooden frame that they looked like one continued pillar 



QUEEN ANNE 75 

indented with the finest strokes of sculpture and stained with 
the greatest variety of dyes. Part of the Hbrary was en- 
closed in a kind of square, consisting of one of the prettiest 
grotesque works that ever I saw, and made up of scara- 
mouches, lions, monkeys, mandarins, trees, shells, and a thou- 
sand other odd figures in china ware. In the midst of the 
room was a little Japan table." 

Between 1710 and 1730 lacquer ware became very fashion- 
able, and many experiments were made to imitate the beau- 
tiful Oriental articles brought home by Dutch traders. In 
Holland a fair amount of success was attained and a good 
deal of lacquered furniture was sent from there to England 
where the brass and silver mounts were added. English and 
French were experimenting, the French with the greatest 
success in their Vernis Martin, mentioned elsewhere, which 
really stood quite in a class by itself, but the imitations of 
Cliinese and Japanese lacquer were inferior to the originals. 
Pine, oak, lime, and many other woods, were used as a base, 
and the fashion was so decided that nearly all kinds of furni- 
ture were covered with it. This lacquer ware of William 
and Mary's and Queen Anne's time must not be confounded 
with the Japanned furniture of Hepplewhite's and Shera- 
ton's time, which was quite different and of much lower 
grade. 

It was in the reign of Queen Anne that the sun began to 
rise on English cabinet work ; it shone gloriously through the 
eighteenth century, and sank in early Victorian clouds. 



Chippendale and the Eighteenth Century 
in England 




An elaborately carved and gilded Chippendale mantel mirror, snowing French 

influence 




One of the most beautiful examples of Chippendale's fretwork tea-tables in 

existence 



Chippendale and the Eighteenth Century 

in England 

THE classification of furniture in England is on a 
different basis from that of France, as the rulers 
of England were not such patrons of art as were 
the French kings. Flemish, Dutch and French influences 
all helped to form the taste of the people. The Jacobean 
period lasted from the time of James I to the time of Wil- 
liam and Mary. William brought with him from Holland 
the strong Dutch feeling that had a tremendous influence 
on the history of English furniture, and during Anne's short 
reign the Dutch feeling still lasted. 

It was not until the early years of the reign of George II 
that the Georgian period came into its own with Chippen- 
dale at its head. Some authorities include William and 
Mary and Queen Anne in the Georgian period, but the more 
usual idea is to divide it into several parts, better known as 
the times of Chippendale, Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton. 
French influence is marked throughout and is divided into 
parts. The period of Chippendale was contemporaneous 
with that of Louis XV, and the second part included the 
other three men and corresponded with the last years of 

79 



80 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

Louis XV, when the transition to Louis XVI was begin- 
ning, and the time of Louis XVI. 

It was not until the latter part of Chippendale's life that 
he gave up his love of rococo curves and scrolls, dripping 
water effects, and his Chinese and Gothic styles. His early 
chairs had a Dutch feeling, and it is often only by ornamen- 
tation that one can date them. 

The top of the Dutch chair had a flowing curve, the splat 
was first solid and plain, then carved, and later pierced in 
geometrical designs ; then came the curves that were used so 
much by Chippendale. The carving consisted of swags and 
pendants of fruit and flowers, shells, acanthus leaves, scrolls, 
eagle's heads, carved in relief on the surface. 

Dutch chairs were usually of walnut and some of the late 
ones were of mahogany. Mahogany was not used to any 
extent before 1720, but at that time it began to be imported 
in large quantities, and its lightness and the ease with which 
it could be worked made it appropriate for the lighter style 
of furniture then coming into vogue. 

Chippendale began to make chairs with the curved top 
that is so characteristic of his work. The splat back was 
always used, in spite of the French, and its treatment Is one 
of the most interesting things in the history of English fur- 
niture. It gave scope for great originality. Although, as 
I have said before, foreign influence was strong, the ideas 
were adapted and worked out by the great cabinet-makers 



CHIPPENDALE AND THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 81 

of the Georgian period with a vigor and beauty that made a 
distinct English style, and often went far, far ahead of the 
originals. 

There were, so far as we know, three Thomas Chippen- 
dales : the second was the great one. He was born in Wor- 
cester, England, about 1710, and died in 1779. He and his 
father, who was also a carver, came to London before 1727. 
Very little is known about his life, but we may feel sure he 
was that rare combination: a man of genius with decided 
business abihty. He not only designed the furniture which 
was made in his shop, but executed a large part of it also, and 
superintended all the work done there by others. That he 
was a man of originality shows distinctly through his work, 
for although he adapted and copied freely and was strongly 
influenced by the Dutch, French, and " Chinese taste," there 
is always his own distinctive touch. The furniture of his 
best period, and those belonging to his school, has great 
beauty of line and proportion, and the exquisite carving 
shows a tine feeling for ornament in relation to plain sur- 
faces. There are a few examples in existence of carving 
in almost as high relief as that of Grinling Gibbons, swags, 
etc., and in his most rococo period his carving was very elabo- 
rate. It always had great clearness of edge and cut, and a 
wonderful feeling for light and shade. In what is called 
" Irish Chippendale," which was furniture made in Ireland 
after the style of Chippendale, the carving was in lov/ relief 



8a FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

and the edges fairly smoothed oif, which made it much less 
interesting. 

Chippendale looked upon his work as one of the arts and 
placed his ideal of achievement very high, and that he re- 
ceived the recognition of the best people of the time as an 
artist of merit is proved by his election to the Society of 
Arts with such men as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Horace Wal- 
pole, Samuel Johnson, David Garrick, and others. 

Tke genius of Chippendale justly puts him in the front 
rank of cabinet-makers and his influence was the foundation 
of much of the fine work done by many others during the 
eighteenth century. He is often criticized for his excessive 
rococo taste as displayed in the plates of the *' Gentleman's 
and Cabinet-maker's Director," and in some of his finished 
work. Many of the designs in the " Director " were prob- 
ably never carried out, and some of them were probably 
added to by the soaring imaginations of the engraver. This 
is true of all the books published by the great cabinet-makers, 
and it always seems more fair to have their reputations rest 
on their finished work which has come down to us. 

Chippendale, of course, must bear the chief part of the 
charge of over-elaboration, and he frankly says that he thinks 
" much enrichment is necessary." He copied Meissonier's 
designs and had a great love for gilding, but the display of 
rococo taste is not in all his work by any means, nor was it so 
excessive as that of the French. The more self-restrained 




Tlie dripping-water effect, of wliich Chipper.clale was so fond at one time, is 
plainly shown on the doors of this particularly fine example of liis work 




A chair from early in the 18th 
century of the Dutch type 




One of the Chippendale pat- 
terns, (latins: from about 1750 





Hepplewhite's characteristic 
shield-shaped back 



Thomas Sheraton's rectangular 
tj'pe of chair-back 



CHIPrENDALE AND THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 83 

temperament of the Anglo-Saxon race makes a deal of 
difference. He early used the ogee curve and cabriole leg, 
the knees of wliich he carved with cartouches and leaves or 
other designs. The front rail of the chair also was often 
carved. There were several styles of curved leg, the cabriole 
leg of Dutch influence, and the curved style of Louis XV. 
There were also several variations on the claw and ball foot. 
Many Chippendale chairs were without stretchers, but the 
straight legged style usually had four. The seats were some- 
times in a box frame or rebate, and sometimes the covering 
was drawn over the frame and fastened with brass headed 
nails. Chippendale in the " Director " speaks of red morocco, 
Spanish leather, damask, tapestry and other needlework as 
being appropriate for the covering of his chairs. 

In about 1760 or 1765 he began to use the straight leg for 
his chairs. The different shapes of splats will often help 
in deciding the dates of their making, and its development 
is of great interest. The curves shown in the diagram on 
page 84 are the merest suggestions of the outline of the 
splat, and they were carved most beautifully in many differ- 
ent designs. Ribbon-back chairs are dated about 1755 and 
show the adapted French influence. His Gothic and Chinese 
designs were made about 1760-1770. Ladder-back chairs 
nearly always had straight legs, either plain or with double 
ogee curve and bead moldings, but there are a few examples 
of ladder-back and cabriole legs combined, although these 



84» 



FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 



are very rare. The chair settees of the Dutch time, with 
backs having the appearance of chairs side by side, were 
also made by Chippendale. *' Love seats " were small 
settees. It was naively said that " they were too larpje for 
one and too small for two." A large armchair that shows 
a decided difference in the manners of the early eighteenth 



I740-175O 1750-1760 




^ 



1T55-1770 




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1750-1755 1T50-1760 1755-1/65 




1760-1770 




1760-1770 



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1750-1770 




iTtO 



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c^: 



'^ 1760-1770 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHAIR SPLATS USED BY. CHIPPENDALE 

century and the present day was called the " drunkard's 
chair." 

When the craze for " Indian work " was at its height, 
there were many pieces of old oak and walnut furniture cov- 
ered with lacquer to bring it up to the fashionable standard, 
but their forms were not suitable, and oak especially, with its 



CHIPPENDALE AND THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 85 

coarse grain did not lend itself to the process. The stands 
for lacquer cabinets vary in style, but were often gilded in 
late Louis XIV and Louis XV style. The difference be- 
tween true lacquer and its imitations is hard to explain. The 
true was made by repeated coats of a special varnish, each 
rubbed down and allowed to become hard before the next was 
put on. This gave a hard, cool, smooth surface with no 
stickiness. Modern work, done with paint and French var- 
nish, has not this delightful feeling, but is nearly always 
clammy to the touch, and the colors are hurt by the process 
of polishing. Chippendale did not use much lacquer, but in 
the " Director " he often says such and such designs would 
be suitable for it. 

Much of the furniture that Chippendale made was heavy, 
but the best of it had much beauty. His delicate fretwork 
tea-tables are a delight, with their fretwork cupboards and 
carving. He seemed to combine many sides in his artistic 
temperament, a fact that many people lay to his power of 
assimilating the work of others. He did not make side- 
boards in our sense of the word. His were large side-tables, 
sometimes with a drawer for silver and sometimes not. Pier- 
tables were very much hke them in shape, but smaller, and 
were often gilded to match the mirrors which were placed 
above them. 

The larger pieces of Chippendale furniture have the same 
characteristic of perfect workmanship and detail which the 



86 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

chairs possess. Dinirig-tables were made in sections consist- 
ing of two semi-circular ends and two center pieces with 
flaps which could all be joined together and make a very 
large table. The beds he made had four posts and cornice 
tops elaborately carved and often gilded, with a strong Louis 
XV feeling. The curtains hung from the inside of the cor- 
nice. He also made many other styles of beds, such as can- 
opy beds, tent beds, flat tester beds, Chinese beds, Gothic 
beds : there was almost nothing he did not make for the house 
from wall brackets to the largest wardrobes. 

To many people used to the simple Chij^pendale furniture 
which is commonly seen, the idea of rich and beautiful carving 
and gilding comes as a surprise, and even in the " Director " 
there are no plates which show his most beautiful work. His 
elaborate furniture was naturally chiefly order work, and so 
was not pictured, and much of it that is left is still in the 
possession of the descendants of the original owners. The 
small number of authentic pieces which have reached public 
sales have been eagerly snapped up by private collectors and 
museums at large prices. 

In America much of the furniture called Chippendale was 
not made by Chippendale himself, but was made after hig 
designs and copied from imported pieces by clever cabinet- 
makers here in the, then, colonies. The average American 
of the eighteenth century was a simple and not over rich per- 
son of good breeding and refined taste who appreciated the 





It is interesting to compare the generous curves of the Chippen- 
dale sofa with the greater severity of Hepplewhite's taste 




A valuable collection of an Adam mirror, a block-front, knee-hole chest of 
drawers, and a Hepplewhite chair 



CHIPPENDALE AND THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 87 

fact that the elaborate furniture of England and France 
would not be in keeping with life in America, and so either 
imported the simpler kinds, or demanded that the home cabi- 
net-maker choose good models for his work. This partly 
explains why we have so much really good Colonial furniture, 
and not so much of the elaborately carved and gilded va- 
riety. 



Robert Adam 



Robert Adam 

ROBERT ADAM was the second of the four sons 
of William Adam, and was born in 1728. The 
Adam family was Scotch of good social position. 
Robert early showed a talent for drawing. He was ambi- 
tious, and, as old Roman architecture interested him above 
all other subjects, he decided that he could attain his ideals 
only by study and travel in Italy. He returned to Eng- 
land in 1758 after four years of hard work with the results 
of his labors, the chief treasure being his careful drawings of 
Diocletian's villa. His classical taste was firmly established, 
and was to be one of the important influences of the eight- 
eenth century. 

Robert and James Adam went into partnership and be- 
came the most noted architects of their day in England. The 
list of their buildings is long and interesting, and much of 
their architectural and decorative work is still in existence. 

To many people it will seem like putting the cart before 
the horse to say that Robert Adam had in any way influ- 
enced the style we call Louis XVI, but it is a plausible theory 
and certainly an interesting one. Mr. G. Owen Wheeler in 
his interesting book on " Old English Furniture " makes a 
strong case in favor of the Adam Brothers. Classical taste 

91 



9^ FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

was well established in England by 1765, before the transition 
from Louis XV to Louis XVI began, and Robert Adam 
published his book in parallel columns of French and Eng- 
lish, which shows it must have been in some demand in 
France. The great influence of the excavations at Pompeii 
must naturally not be underestimated, as it was far reaching, 
but with the beautiful Adam style well developed, just across 
the Channel, it seems probable that it may have had its share 
in forming French taste. The foundation being there, the 
French put their characteristic touch to it and developed a 
much richer style than that of the Adam Brothers, but the 
two have so much in common that Louis XVI furniture may 
be put into an Adam room with perfect fitness, and vice 
versa. As the Adams cared only to design furniture some 
one else had to carry out the designs, and Chippendale was 
master carver and cabinet-maker under them at Harewood 
House, Yorkshire, and probably was also in many other in- 
stances. 

The early furniture of Adam was plain, and the walls were 
treated with much decoration that was classic in feeling. 
He possessed the secret of a composition of which his ex- 
quisite decorations on walls and ceilings were made. After 
1770 he simplified his walls and elaborated his furniture de- 
signs until they met in a beautiful and graceful harmony. 
He designed furniture to suit the room it was in, and with 
the dainty and charming coloring, the beauty of proportion 




A mantel of marble and steel in the drawing-room, Rushton Hall, 
Northamptonshire — the work of the brothers Adam 




Another Adam inauul. h is interesting to note how clearly these 
mantels are the inspiration of our own Colonial work 





""^^i^^ 



oie!*^« 




Tlie delicacy uf the painting and the graceful proportions of these reproduc- 
tions are in the true spirit of Adam 



ROBERT ADAM 93 

and the charm of the wall decoration, the scheme had great 
beauty. 

He used the ram's head, wreaths, honeysuckle, mythologi- 
cal subjects, lozenge-shaped, oval and octagonal panels, and 
many other designs. He was one of the first to use the 
French idea of decorating furniture with painting and por- 
celain plaques, and the furniture itself was simple and beau- 
tiful in line. The stucco ceilings designed by the brothers 
were picked out with delicate colors and have much beauty of 
line. 

A great deal of the most beautiful Adam decoration was 
the painting on walls and ceilings and furniture by Angelica 
Kaufmann, Zucchi, Pergolesi, Cipriani, and Columbani. 
The standard of work was so high that only the best was sat- 
isfactory. 

Adam usually designed his furniture for the room in which 
it was to stand, and he often planned the house and all its 
contents, even to the table silver, to say nothing of the door- 
locks. The chairs were of mahogany, or painted, or gilded, 
wood. Some had oval upholstered backs, with the covering 
specially designed for the room, and some had lyre backs, 
later used so much by Sheraton, and others had small painted 
panels placed in the top rail, with beautiful carving. Mir- 
rors were among the most charming articles designed by 
Adam, and had composition wreaths and cupids and medal- 
lions for ornament. They were usually made in pairs in 



94 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

both large and small sizes. A pair of antique mirrors should 
be kept together, as they are very much more valuable than 
when separated. 

Adam was one of the first to assemble the pieces that later 
grew into the sideboard — a table, two pedestals, and a cel- 
laret. There is a sideboard designed by him for Gillows, in 
which the parts are connected, and it is at least one of the 
ancestors of the beautiful Shearer and Hepplewhite ones and 
our modern useful, though not always beautiful, article. 
When, late in Ms career, Adam attempted to copy the 
French, he was not so successful, as he did not have their 
flexibihty of temperament, and was unable to give the 
warmer touch to the classic, wliich they did so well. His 
paneled walls, however, have great dignity and purity of 
line and feeling, and the applied ornament was really an 
ornament, and not a disfigurement as too often happens in 
our day. With Adam one feels the surety of knowledge 
and the refinement of good taste led by a high ideal. 



Hepplewhite 




A fine old Hepplewhitc sick-lxiard, with old glass and silver, but the niodcrn wall- 
paper is not in harmony 




A modern Hepplewhite settee, showing the draped scarf carving he used 

so much 



Hepplewhite 

THE work of Hepplewhite and his school lasted from 
about 1760 to 1795 ; the last nine years of the time the 
business was carried on by his widow, Alice, under the 
name of A. Hepplewhite & Co. For five years after that 
some work was done after his manner, but it was distinctly 
inferior. In the early seventies Hepplewhite's work was so 
well known and so much admired that its influence was shown 
in the work of his contemporaries. There was a great difl*er- 
ence between his style and that of Chippendale, his being 
much lighter in construction and effect, besides the many 
difl'erences of design. Hepplewhite was strongly influenced 
by the French style of Louis XVI, and also the pure taste 
of Robert Adam at its height. Hepplewhite, however, like 
all the great cabinet-.makers, both French and Eng- 
lish, was a great genius himself and stamped the impress of 
his own personality upon his work. 

Many people date Hepplewhite's fame from the time of 
the publication of his book, " The Cabinet Maker and Up- 
holsterer's Guide," in 1788, not realizing that he had been 
dead for two years when it appeared. Its publication was 
justified by the well established popularity of his furniture 
and the success with which his designs were carried out by 
A. Hepplewhite & Co. 

97 



98 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

It is interesting to notice the difference in the size of chairs 
which became apparent during Hepplewhite's time. Hoop- 
skirts and stiffened coats went out of fashion, and with them 
went the need of large chair seats. The transition chairs 
made by Hepplewhite were not very attractive in proportion, 
as the backs were too low for the width. The transition from 
Chippendale to Hepplewhite was not sudden, as the last 
style of Chippendale was simpler and had more of the classic 
feeling in it. Hepplewhite says, in the preface to his book: 
" To unite elegance and utiHty, and blend the useful with the 
agreeable, has ever been considered a difficult, but an honor- 
able task." He sometimes failed and sometimes succeeded. 
His knowledge of construction enabled him to make his chairs 
with shield, oval, and heart-shaped backs. The tops were 
slightly curved, also the tops of the splats, and at the lower 
edge where the back and the splat join, a half rosette was 
carved. He often used the three feathers of the Prince of 
Wales, sheaves of wheat, anthemion, urns, and festoons of 
drapery, all beautifully carved, and forming the splat. The 
backs of his chairs were supported at the sides by uprights 
running into the shield-shaped back and did not touch the seat 
frame in any other way. With this apparent weakness of 
construction it is wonderful how many of his chairs have come 
down to us in perfect condition, but it was his knowledge of 
combining lightness with strength which made it possible. 

Hepplewhite used straight or tapering legs with spade feet 



HEPPLEWHITE 99 

for his furniture, often inlaid with bellflowers in satinwood. 
The legs were sometimes carved with a double ogee curve and 
bead molding. He did not use carving in the lavish manner 
of Chippendale, but it was always beautifully done, and he 
used a great deal of inlay of satinwood, etc., oval panels, 
lines, urns, and many other motives common to the other 
cabinet-makers of the day, and also painted some of his furni- 
ture. His Japan work was inferior in every way to that of 
the early part of the eighteenth century. The upholstery 
was fastened to the chairs with brass-headed tacks, often in 
a festoon pattern. Oval-shaped brass handles were used on 
his bureaus, desks, and other furniture. He made many side- 
boards, some, in fact, going back to the side table and pedestal 
idea, and bottle-cases and knife-boxes were put on the ends 
of the sideboards. His regular sideboards were founded on 
Shearer's design. 

Shearer's furniture was simple and dainty in design, and 
he has the honor of making the first real serpentine side- 
board, about 1780, which was not a more or less disconnected 
collection of tables and pedestals. It was the forerunner of 
the Hepplewhite and Sheraton sideboards that we know so 
well. Shearer is now hardly known even by name to the 
general world, but without doubt his ideal of lightness and 
strength in construction had a good deal of influence on his 

contemporaries and followers. 

Hepplewhite was very fond of oval and semi-circular 



G;iU<^^ 



100 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

shapes, and many of his tables are made in either one way 
or the other. His sideboards, founded on Shearer's designs, 
are very elegant, as he liked to say, in their simplicity of line, 
their inlay, and their general beauty of wood. He 
was most successful in his chairs, sideboards, tables, and small 
household articles, for his larger pieces of furniture were 
often too heavy. Some of the worst, however, were made 
by other cabinet-makers after his designs, and not by Hep- 
plewhite himself. 



Sheraton 



Sheraton 

THOMAS SHERATON was born in 1750, and was 
a journeyman cabinet-maker when he went to Lon- 
don. His great genius for furniture design was 
combined with a love of writing tracts and sermons. Unfor- 
tunately for his success in life, he had a most disagreeable 
personality, being conceited, jealous, and perfectly willing to 
pour scorn on his brother cabinet-makers. This impression 
he quite frankly gives about himself in his books. The name 
of Robert Adam is not mentioned, and this seems particu- 
larly unpleasant when one thinks of the latter's undoubted 
influence on Sheraton's work. Sheraton's unfortunate dis- 
position probably helped to make his life a failure. 

It is very sad to see such possibilities as his not reaping 
their true reward, for poverty dogged his steps all through 
life, and he was always struggling for a bare livelihood. His 
books were not financially successful, and at last he gave up 
his workshop and ceased to make the furniture he designed, 
He was an expert draughtsman and his designs were carried 
out by the skillful cabinet-makers of the day. Adam Black 
gives a very pitiful account of the poverty in which Sheraton 
lived, and says : " That by attempting to do everything he 
does nothing." His " nothing," however, has proved a very 

103 



104 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

big something in the years which have followed, for Sheraton 
is responsible for one of the most beautiful types of furniture 
the world has known, and although his life was hard and bit- 
ter, his fame is great. 

Sheraton took the style of Louis XVI as his standard, and 
some of his best work is quite equal to that of the French 
workmen. He felt the lack of the exquisite brass and ormolu 
work done in France, and said if it were only possible to get 
as fine in England, the superior cabinet-making of the Eng- 
lish would put them far ahead in the ranks. To many of 
us this loss is not so great, for the beauty of the wood counts 
for more, and is not detracted from by an oversupply 
of metal ornament, as sometimes happened in France. 
" Enough is as good as a feast." Sheraton, at his best, had 
beauty, grace, and refinement of line without weakness, light- 
ness and yet perfect construction, combined with balance, 
and the ornament just sufficient to enhance the beauty of 
the article without overpowering it. It is this fine work 
which the world remembers and which gave him his fame, and 
so it is far better to forget his later period when nearly all 
trace of his former greatness was lost. 

Sheraton profited by the work of Chippendale, Adam, and 
Hepplewhite, for these great men blazed the trail for him, so 
to speak, in raising the art of cabinet-making to so high a 
plane that England was full of skilled workmen. The in- 
fluence of Adam, Shearer, and Hepplewhite, was very great 





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SHERATON 105 

on his worK, and it is often difficult to tell whether he or Hep- 
plewhite or Shearer made some pieces. He evidently did 
not have business ability and his bitter nature hampered him 
at every turn. The Sheraton school lasted from about 1790 
to 1806. He died in 1806, fairly worn out with his struggle 
for existence. Poor Sheraton, it certainly is a pitiful story. 

Sheraton's chair backs are rectangular in type, with urn 
splats, and splats divided into seven radiates, and also many 
other designs. The chairs were made of mahogany and satin- 
wood, some carved, some inlaid, and some painted. The 
splat never ran into the seat, but was supported on a cross 
rail running from side to side a few inches above the seat. 
iThe material used for upholstery was nailed over the frame 
with brass-headed tacks. 

Bookcases were of mahogany and satinwood veneer, and 
the large ones were often in three sections, the center section 
standing farther out than the two sides. The glass was cov- 
ered with a graceful design in moldings, and the pediments 
were of various shapes, the swan-neck being a favorite. 

Sideboards were built on very much the lines of those made 
by Shearer and Hepplewhite. There were drawers and cup- 
boards for various uses. The knife-boxes to put on the top 
came in sets of two, and sometimes there was a third box. 
The legs were light and tapering with inlay of satinwood, 
and sometimes they were reeded. There was inlay also on 
the doors and drawers. There were also sideboards without 



106 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

inlay. The legs for his furniture were at first plain, and 
then tapering and reeded. He used some carving, and a 
great deal of satinwood and tulip-wood were inlaid in the 
mahogany; he also used rosewood. The bellflower, urn, 
festoons, and acanthus were all favorites of his for deco- 
ration. 

He made some elaborate and startling designs for beds, 
but the best known ones are charming with slender turned 
posts or reeded posts, and often the plain ones were made of 
painted satinwood. 

The satinwood from the East Indies was fine and of a 
beautiful yellow color, while that from the West Indies was 
coarser in grain and darker in color. It is a slow growing 
tree, and that used nowadays cannot compare with the old, 
in spite of the gallant efforts of the hard working fakirs to 
copy its beautiful golden tone. 

All the cabinet-makers of the eighteenth century made in- 
genious contrivances in the way of furniture, washstands con- 
cealed in what appear to be corner cupboards, a table that 
looks as simple as a table possibly can, but has a small step- 
ladder and book rest hidden away in its useful inside, and 
many others. Sheraton was especially clever in making 
these conveniences, as these two examples show, and his 
books have many others pictured in them. Sheraton's list 
of articles of furniture is long, for he made almost every- 
thing from knife-boxes to " chamber-horses," which were 



SHERATON 107 

contrivances of a saddle and springs for people to take exer- 
cise upon at home. 

Sheraton's " Drawing Book " was the best of those he 
published. It was sold chiefly to other cabinet-makers and did 
not bring in many orders, as Chippendale's and Hepple- 
white's did. His other books showed his decline, and his 
" Encyclopedia," on which he was working at the time of his 
death, had many subjects in it beside furniture and cabinet- 
making. His sideboards, card-tables, sewing-tables, tables 
of every kind, chairs — in fact, everything he made during 
his best period^ — have a sureness and beauty of line that 
makes it doubly sad that through the stress of circumstances 
he should have deserted it for the style of the Empire that 
w^as then the fashion in France. One or two of his Empire 
designs have beauty, but most of them are too dreadful, but 
it was the beginning of the end, and the eighteenth century 
saw the beautiful principles of the eighteenth century lost 
in a bog of ugliness. 

There were many other cabinet-makers of merit that space 
does not allow me to mention, but the great four who stood 
head and shoulders above them all were Chippendale, Adam, 
Hepplewhite and Sheraton. They, being human, did much 
work that is best forgotten, but the heights to which they all 
rose have set a standard for English furniture in beauty and 
construction that it would be well to keep in mind. 

The nineteenth century passed away without any especial 



108 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

genius, and in fact, with a very black mark against its name 
in the hideous early Victorian era. The twentieth century 
is moving along without anything we can really call a beauti- 
ful and worthy style being born. There are many working 
their way towards it, but there is apt to be too much of the 
bizarre in the attempts to make them satisfactory, and so 
we turn to the past for our models and are thankful for the 
legacy of beauty it has left to the world. 



A General Talk 



A General Talk 

WHEN one faces the momentous question of 
furnishing a house, there are numerous things 
which must be looked into and thoroughly un- 
derstood if success is to be assured. If one is building in the 
country the first question is the placing of the house in re- 
gard to the view, but in town there is not much choice. The 
architect being chosen with due regard to the style of house 
one v/ishes, the planning can go merrily on. The architect 
should be told if there are any especially large and beautiful 
pieces of furniture or tapestry to be planned for, so they 
shall receive their rightful setting. After all, architects are 
but human, and cannot tell by intuition what furniture is in 
storage. 

It is sad to see how often architecture and decoration are 
looked upon as two entirely disconnected subjects, instead of 
being closely allied, playing into each other's hands, as it were, 
to make a perfect whole. To many people, a room is simply 
a room to be treated as they wish ; whereas many rooms are 
absolute laws unto themselves, and demand a certain kind of 
treatment, or disaster follows. In America this kind of 
house is not found so often as in Europe, but the number 

is growing rapidly as architects and their clients realize more 

111 



112 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

and more the beauties and possibilities of the great periods 
as applied to the modern house. It is only to the well- 
trained architect and decorator with correct taste that one 
may safely turn, for the ill-trained and commonplace still 
continue to make their astounding errors, and so to have the 
decoration of a room truly successful one must begin with the 
architect, for he knows the correct proportions of the differ- 
ent styles and appreciates their importance. He will plan 
the rooms so that they, when decorated, may complete his 
work and form a beautiful and convincing whole. This will 
give the restf ulness and beauty that absolute appropriateness 
always lends. 

This matter of appropriateness must not be overlooked, 
and the whole house should express the spirit of the owner; 
it should be in absolute keeping with his circumstances. 
There are few houses which naturally demand the treatment 
of palaces, but there are many which correspond with the 
smaller chateaux of France and the manor-houses of Eng- 
land. It is to these we must turn for our inspiration, for 
they have the beauty of good taste and high standards with- 
out the lavishness of royalty; but even royalty did not al- 
ways live in rooms of state, for at Versailles, and Petit Tri- 
anon, there is much simple exquisite furniture. The wonder- 
ful and elaborate furniture of the past must be studied of 
course, but to the majority of people, then as now, the sim- 
pler expression of its fundamental lines of beauty are more 




< 




The sweep of the stairs, with the fine ironwork and rich colored tapestries, 

a Gobelin of Apollo, and a Flemish tapestry of the Crucifixion, make an 

imposing hall. An old Spanish chair is on the landing, and the clock with 

Father Time upon it is an especially fine example of Boulle's work 



A GENERAL TALK 113 

satisfactory. The trouble with many houses is that their fur- 
nishings are copied from too grand models, and the effect in 
an average modern house is unsuitable in every way. They 
cannot give the large vistas and appropriate background in 
color and proportion which are necessary. Beauty does not 
depend upon magnificence. 

If one has to live in a house planned and built by others 
one often has to give up some long cherished scheme and 
adopt something else more suited to the surroundings. For 
instance, the rooms of the great French periods were high, 
and often the modern house has very low ceilings, that would 
not allow space for the cornice, over-doors and correctly pro- 
portioned paneHng, that are marked features of those times. 
Mrs. Wharton has aptly said: "Proportion is the good 
breeding of architecture," and one might add that proportion 
is good breeding itself. One little sHp from the narrow path 
into false proportion in line or color or mass and the perfec- 
tion of effect is gone. 

Proportion is another word for the fitness of things, and 
that little phrase, " the fitness of things," is what Alice in 
Wonderland calls a " portmanteau " phrase, for it holds so 
much, and one must feel it strongly to escape the pitfalls of 
period furnishing. Most amazing things are done with per- 
fect complacency, but although the French and English 
kings who gave their names to the various periods were far 
from models of virtue, they certainly deserved no such cruel 



114 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

punishment as to have some of the modern rooms, such as 
we have all seen, called after them. 

The best decorators refuse to mix styles in one room and 
they thus save people from many mistakes, but a decorator 
without a thorough understanding of the subject, often leads 
one to disaster. A case in point is an apartment where a 
small Louis XV room opens on a narrow hall of nondescript 
modern style, with a wide archway opening into a Mission 
dining-room. As one sits in the midst of pink brocade and 
gilding and looks across to the dining-room, fitted out in all 
the heavy paraphernalia of Mission furniture, one's head 
fairly reels. No contrast could be more marked or more 
unsuitable, and yet this is by no means an uncommon case. 

If one intends to adopt a style in decorating one's house, 
there should be a uniformity of treatment in all connecting 
rooms, and there must be harmony in the furniture and 
architecture and ornament, as well as harmony in the color 
scheme. The foundation must be right before the decora- 
tion is added. The proportion of doors and windows, for 
instance, is very important, with the decorated over-door 
reaching to the ceiling. The over-doors and mantels were 
architectural features of the rooms, and it was not until wall- 
papers came into common use, in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century, that these decorative features slowly died out. 

The mantel and fireplace should be a center of interest and 
should be balanced with something of importance on the other 



A GENERAL TALK 115 

side of the room, either architectural or decorative. It was 
this regard for symmetry, balance, proportion, and harmony, 
which made the old rooms so satisfying; there was no magic 
about it, it was artistic common sense. 

The use for which a room is intended must be kept in view 
and carried out with real understanding of its needs. The 
individuality of the owner is of course a factor. Unfortu- 
nately the word individuality is often confounded with eccen- 
tricity and to many people it means putting perfectly worthy 
and unassuming articles to startling uses. By individuality 
one should really mean the best expression of one's sense of 
beauty and the fitness of things, and when it is guided by the 
laws of harmony and proportion the result is usually one of 
great charm, convenience, and comfort. These qualities 
must be in every successful house. 

In furnishing any house, whether in some special period or 
not, there are certain things which must be taken into account. 
One of these is the general color scheme. Arranging a color 
scheme for a house is not such a difficult matter as many 
people suppose, nor is it the simple thing that many others 
seem to think. There is a happy land between the two ex- 
tremes, and the guide posts pointing to it are a good color 
sense, a true feeling for the proportion and harmony of color, 
and an understanding of the laws of light. The trouble is 
that people often do not use their eyes; red is red to them, 
blue is blue, and green is green. They have never appeared 



116 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

to notice that there are dozens of tones in these colors. Na- 
ture is one of the greatest teachers of color harmony if we 
would but learn from her. Look at a salt marsh on an 
autumn day and notice the wonderful browns and yellows 
and golds in it, the reds and russets and touches of green in 
the woods on its edge, and the clear blue sky over all with 
the reflections in the little pools. It is a picture of such 
splendor of color that one fairly gasps. Then look at the 
same marsh under gray skies and see the change; there is 
just as much beauty as before, the same russets and golds 
and reds, but exquisitely softened. One is sparkling, gay, a 
harmony of brilliancy; the other is more gentle, sweet and 
appealing, a harmony of softened glory. 

Again, Nature makes a thousand and one shades of green 
leaves to harmonize with her flowers ; the yellow green of the 
golden rod, the silver green of the milkweed, the bright 
green of the nasturtium. Notice the woods in wintertime 
with the wonderful purple browns and grays of the tree 
trunks and branches, the bronze and russet of the dead leaves, 
and the deep shadows in the snow. Everywhere one turns 
there are lessons to learn if one will only use seeing eyes and 
a thinking mind. 

A house should be looked at as a whole, not as so many 
imits to be treated in a care-free manner. A room is afl'ected 
by all the rooms opening from it, as they, in turn, are af- 
fected by it. There can be variety of color with harmony of 



A GENERAL TALK 117 

contrast, or there can be the same color used throughout, 
with the variety gained by the use of its different tones. 
The plan of each floor should be carefully studied to get the 
vistas in all directions so that harmony may reign and there 
will be no danger of a clashing color discord when a door 
is opened. The connecting rooms need not be all in one 
color, of course, but they should form a perfect color har- 
mony one with another, with deft touches of contrast to ac- 
cent and bring out the beauty of the whole scheme: This 
matter of harmony in contrast is an important one. The 
idea of using a predominant color is a restful one, and adds 
dignity and apparent size to a house. The walls, for in- 
stance, could be paneled in white enameled wood, or plaster, 
and the necessary color and variety could be supplied by the 
rugs, hangings, furniture, and pictures. 

Another charming plan is to have different tones of one 
color used — a scheme running from cream or old ivory 
through soft yellow and tan to a russet brown would be 
lovely, especially if the house did not have an over supply of 
light. Greens may be used with discretion, and a cool and 
attractive scheme is from white to soft blue through gray. 
If different colors are to be used in the different rooms the 
number of combinations is almost unlimited, but there must 
always be the restraining influence of a good color sense in 
forming the scheme or the result will be disappointing, to 
say the least. 



118 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

A very important matter in the use of color is in its rela- 
tion to the amount and quality of the light. Dreary rooms 
can be made cheerful, and too bright and dazzling rooms 
can be softened in effect, by the skillful use of color. The 
warm colors, — cream white, yellows — but not lemon yel- 
low — orange, warm tans, russet, pinks, yellow greens, yel- 
lowish reds are to be used on the north or shady side of the 
house. The cool colors, — ^ white, cream white, blues, grays, 
greens, and violet, are for the sunny side. Endless combi- 
nations may be made of these colors, and if a gray room, for 
example, is wished on the north side of the house, it can be 
used by first choosing a warm tone of gray and combining 
with it one of the warm colors, such as certain shades of soft 
pink or yellow. We can stand more brilliancy of color out- 
of-doors than we can in the house, where it is shut in with us. 
It is too exciting and we become restless and nervous. No 
matter on what scale a house is furnished one of its aims 
should be to be restful. 

There is one great mistake which many people make of 
thinking of red as a cheerful color, and one which is good 
to use in a dark room. The average red used in large quan- 
tities absorbs the light in a most disheartening manner, mak- 
ing a room seem smaller than it really is; it makes ugly 
gloomy shadows in the corners, for at night it seems to turn 
to a dingy black, and increases the electric hght bill. Red is 
also a severe strain on the eyes, and many a red living-room 



A GENERAL TALK 119 

is the cause of seemingly unaccountable headaches. I do not 
mean to say that red should never be used, for it is often a very 
necessary color, but it must be used with the greatest discre- 
tion, and one must remember that a little of it goes a long 
way. A room, for instance, paneled with oak, with an ori- 
ental rug with soft red in it, red hangings, and a touch of red 
in an old stained glass panel in the window, and red velvet 
cushions on the window seat, would have much more warmth 
and charm than if the walls were covered entirely with red. 
One red cushion is often enough to give the required note. 
The effect of color is very strong upon people, although a 
great many do not realize it, but nearly everyone will remem- 
ber a sudden and apparently unexplained change of mood in 
going into some room. One can learn a deal by analyzing 
one's own sensations. Figured wall-papers should also be 
chosen with the greatest care for this same reason. Papers 
which have perpetual motion in their design, or eyes which 
seem to peer, or an unstable pattern of gold running over it, 
must all be ignored. People who choose this kind of paper 
are blest, or cursed, whichever way one looks at it, by an 
utter lack of imagination. 

A room is divided into three parts, the floor, the walls, and 
the ceiling, and the color of the room naturally follows the 
law of nature; the heaviest or darkest at the bottom, or 
floor ; the medium tone in the center, or walls ; and the light- 
est at the top, or ceiling. It is only when one has to artifi- 



120 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

cially correct the architectural proportions of a room that 
the ceiling should be as dark, or darker, than the walls. A 
ceiling can also be seemingly lowered by bringing the ceiling 
color down on the side walls. A low room should never 
have a dark ceiling, as it makes the room seem lower. 

Walls should be treated as a background or as a decora- 
tion in themselves. In the latter case any pictures should 
be set in specially arranged panels and should be pictures 
of importance, or fresco painting. The walls of the great 
periods were of this decorative order. They were treated 
architecturally and the feeling of absolute support which 
they gave was most satisfactory. The pilasters ran from 
base or dado to the cornice and the over-doors made the doors 
a dignified part of the scheme, rather than mere useful holes 
in the wall as they too often are nowadays. 

PaneHng is one of the most beautiful methods of wall deco- 
ration. There are many styles of paneling, stone, marble, 
stucco, plaster, and wood, and each period has its own 
distinctive way of using them, and should be the correct type 
for the style chosen. The paneling of a Tudor room is quite 
different from a Louis XVI room. In the course of a long 
period like that of Louis XV the paneling slowly changed 
its character and the rococo style was followed by the more 
dignified one that later became the style of Louis XVI. 

Tapestry and paintings of importance should have panels 
especially planned for them. If one does not wish to have 



A GENERAL TALK 121 

the paneling cover the entire wall, a wainscot or dado with 
the wall above it covered with tapestry, silk, painting, or' 
paper, will make a beautiful and appropriate room for many 
of the different styles of furniture. A wainscot should not 
be too high; about thirty-six inches is a good height, but 
should form a background for the chairs, sofas, and tables, 
placed around the room. 

A wainscot six or more feet high is not as architecturally 
correct as a lower one, because a wall is, in a way, like an 
order in its divisions, and if the base, or wainscot, is too high 
it does not allow the wall, which corresponds to the column, 
to have its fair proportion. This feeling is very strong in 
many apartment houses where small rooms are overburdened 
by this kind of wainscot, and to make matters worse, the 
top is used as a plate-rail. A high wainscot should be used 
only in a large room, and if there are pilasters arranged to 
connect it with the cornice, and the wall covering is put on 
in panel effect between, the result is much better than if the 
wall were left plain, as it seems to give more of a raison 
d'etre. 

Tapestry is another of the beautiful and important wall 
coverings, and the happy possessor of Flemish or Gobelin, 
or Beauvais, tapestries, is indeed to be envied. A rare old 
tapestry should be paneled or hung so it will serve as a back- 
ground. Used as portieres, tapestry does not show the 
full beauty of its wonderful time-worn colors and its fasci- 



12a FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

nation of texture. It is not everyone, however, who is able 
to own these ahnost priceless treasures of the past, and so 
modern machinery has been called to the aid of those who 
wish to cover their walls and furniture with tapestry. Many 
of these modern manufactures are really beautiful, thick in 
texture, soft in color, and often have the little imperfections 
and unevennesses of hand weaving reproduced, so that we 
feel the charm of the old in the new. Many do not realize 
that in New York there are looms making wonderful hand- 
woven tapestries with the true decorative feeling of the best 
days of the past. On the top floor of a large modern build- 
ing stand the looms of various sizes, the dyeing tubs, the drip- 
ping skeins of wool and silk, the spindles and bobbins, and 
the weavers hard at work carrying out the beautiful designs 
of the artist owner. There are few colors used, as in 
mediaeval days, but wonderful effects are produced by a 
method of winding the threads together which gives a vi- 
brating quality to the color. When the warp in some of the 
coarser fabrics is not entirely covered it is sometimes dyed, 
which gives an indescribable charm. Tapestries of all sizes 
have been made on these looms, from the important decora- 
tion of a great hall, to sofa and chair coverings. Special 
rugs are also made. It is a pleasure to think that an art 
which many considered dead is being practiced with the high- 
est artistic aim and knowledge and skill in the midst of our 
modern rush. This hand-woven tapestry is made to fit spe- 



A GENERAL TALK 123 

cial spaces and rooms, and there is nothing more beautiful 
and suitable for rooms of importance to be found in all the 
long list of possibilities. 

The effect of modern tapestry, like the old, is enhanced if 
the walls are planned to receive it, for it was never intended 
to be used as wall-paper. It is sometimes used as a free 
hanging frieze, so to speak, and sometimes a great piece of 
it is hung flat against the wall, but as a general thing to 
panel it is the better way. 

Another beautiful wall covering is leather. It should be 
used much more than it is, and is especially well adapted for 
halls, libraries, dining-rooms, smoking- and billiard-rooms, 
and dens. Its wonderful possibiHties for rooms which are 
to be furnished in a dignified and beautiful manner are un- 
surpassed. It may be used in connection with paneling or 
cover the wall above a wainscot. 

Fresco painting is another of the noble army of wall treat- 
ments which lends itself beautifully to all kinds and styles 
of rooms. 

Amidst all the grandeur of tapestry and painting one 
must not lose sight of the simpler methods, for they are not 
to be distained. Wall-papers are growing more and more 
beautiful in color, design, and texture, and one can find 
among them papers suited to all needs. Fabrics of all kinds 
have become possibilities since their dust-collecting capacity 
is now no longer a source of terror, as vacuum cleaners 



124 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

are one of the commonplaces of existence. Painting or tint- 
ing the walls, when done correctly, is very satisfactory in 
many rooms. 

There is no doubt that in many houses are wonderful col- 
lections of furniture, tapestries and treasures of many kinds, 
that are placed without regard to the absolute harmony of 
period, although the general feeling of French or Italian or 
English is kept. They are usually great houses where the 
sense of space keeps one from feeling discrepancies that 
would be too marked in a smaller one, and the interest and 
beauty of the rare originals against the old tapestries have 
an atmosphere all their own that no modern reproduction 
can have. There are few of us, however, who can live in this 
semi-museum kind of house, and so one would better stick 
to the highway of good usage, or there is danger of making 
the house look like an antique shop. 

To carry out a style perfectly, all the small details should 
be attended to ^ — the door-locks, the framework of the doors 
and windows, the carving. All these must be taken into ac- 
count if one wishes success. It is better not to attempt a 
style throughout if it is to be a makeshift affair and show 
the effects of inadequate knowledge. The elaborate side of 
any style carried out to the last detail is really only possible 
and also only appropriate for those who have houses to cor- 
respond, but one can choose the simpler side and have beau- 
tiful and charming rooms that are perfectly suited to the 



'A GENERAL TALK 125 

average home. For instance, if one does not wish elaborate 
gilded Louis XVI furniture, upholstered in brocade, one can 
choose beautiful cane furniture of the time and have it either 
in the natural French walnut or enameled a soft gray or 
white to match the woodwork, with cushion of cretonne or 
silk in an appropriate design. Period furnishing does not 
necessarily mean a greater outlay than the nondescript and 
miscellaneous method so often seen. 

Whatever the plan for furnishing a house may be, the bal- 
ance of decoration must be kept; the same general feeling 
throughout all connecting parts. If a drawing-room is too 
fine for the hall through which one has to pass to reach it, 
the balance is upset. If too simple chairs are used in a 
grand dining-room the balance is upset, the fitness of things 
is not observed. When the happy medium is struck through- 
out the house one feels the delightful well-bred charm which 
a regard for the unities always gives. It is not only in the 
quality of the decorations that this feeling of balance must 
be kept, but in the style also. If one chooses a period style 
for the drawing-room it is better to keep to it through the 
house, using it in its different expressions according to the 
needs of the different rooms. If one style throughout should 
seem a bit monotonous at least one nationality should be 
kept, such as French, or English. If several styles of French 
furniture are used do not have them in the same room; for 
instance, Louis XV and Empire have absolutely nothing in 



126 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

common, but very late Louis XVI and early Empire have to 
a certain extent. It does not give the average person a se- 
vere shock to walk from a Louis XVI hall into a Louis XV 
drawing-room, but the two mixed in one room do not give a 
pleasing effect. The oak furniture of Jacobean days does not 
harmonize with the delicate mahogany furniture of the eight- 
eenth century in England. The delicate beauty of Adam 
furniture would be lost in the greatness of a Renaissance 
salon. A lady whose dining-room was furnished in Shera- 
ton furniture one day saw two elaborate rococo Louis XV 
console tables which she instantly bought to add to it. The 
shopman luckily had more sense of the fitness of things than 
a mere desire to sell his wares, and was so appalled when he 
saw the room that he absolutely refused to have them placed 
in it. She saw the point, and learned a valuable lesson. 
One could go on indefinitely, giving examples to warn 
people against startling and inappropriate mixtures which 
put the whole scheme out of key. 

I am taking it for granted that reproductions are to be 
chosen, as originals are not only very rare, but also almost 
prohibitive in price. Good reproductions are carefully made 
and finished to harmonize with the color scheme. The styles 
most used at present are, Louis XIV, XV, XVI, Jacobean, 
William and Mary, and Georgian. Gothic, Italian and 
French Renaissance, Louis XIII, and Tudor styles are not 
so commonly used. We naturally associate dignity and 



A GENERAL TALK 127; 

grandeur with the Renaissance, and it is rather difficult to 
make it seem appropriate for the average American house, 
so it is usually used only for important houses and buildings. 
Some of the Tudor manor houses can be copied with delight- 
ful effect. The styles of Henri II and Louis XIII can both 
be used in libraries and dining-rooms with most effective and 
dignified results. 

The best period of the style of Louis XV is very beautiful 
and is delightfully suited to ball-rooms, small reception- 
rooms, boudoirs, and some bedrooms. In regard to these 
last, one must use discretion, for one would not expect one's 
aged grandmother to take real comfort in one. Nor does 
this style appeal to one for use in a library, as its gayety and 
curves would not harmonize with the necessarilj^ straight 
lines of the bookcases and rows of books. Any one of the 
other styles may be chosen for a library. 

The English developed the dining-room in our modern 
sense of the word, while the French used small ante-cham- 
bers, or rooms that were used for other purposes between 
meals, and I suppose this is partly the reason we so often 
turn to an Enghsh ideal for one. There are many beautiful 
dining-rooms done in the styles of Louis XV and XVI, but 
they seem more like gala rooms and are usually distinctly 
formal in treatment. Georgian furniture, or as we so often 
say. Colonial, is especially well suited to our American life, 
as one can have a very simple room, or one carried out in the 



128 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

most delightful detail. In either case the true feeling must 
be kept and no startling anachronisms should be allowed; 
radiators, for instance, should be hidden in window-seats. 
This same style may be used for any room in the house, and 
there are beautiful reproductions of Chippendale, Adam, 
Hepplewhite, and Sheraton furniture that are appropriate 
for any need. 

In choosing new " old " furniture, do not buy any that has 
a bright and hideous finish. The great cabinet-makers and 
their followers used wax, or oil, and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed. 
This dull finish is imitated, but not equaled, by all good fur- 
niture makers, and the bright finish simply proclaims the 
cheap department store. 

In parts of the country Georgian furniture has been used 
and served as a standard from the first, and it is a happy 
thing for the beauty of our homes that once more it has come 
into its own. It is the high grade of reproduction which 
has made it possible. 

The mahogany used by Chippendale, and in fact by all 
the eighteenth centuiy cabinet-makers, was much more beau- 
tiful than is possible to get to-day, for the logs were old and 
well seasoned wood, allowed to dry by the true process of 
time, which leaves a wonderful depth of color quite impos- 
sible to find in young kiln-dried wood. The best furniture 
makers nowadays, those who have a high standard and pride 
in their work, have by careful and artistic staining and beau- 



A GENERAL TALK 129 

tiful finish, achieved very fine results, but the factory article 
with its dreadful " mahogany " stain, its coarse carving, and 
its brilliant finish, shows a sad difference in ideal. 
The best reproductions are well worth buying, and, 
as they are made with regard to the laws of con- 
struction, they stand a very good chance of becoming valued 
heirlooms. There are certain characteristics of all the 
eighteenth century cabinet-makers, both English and 
French, which are picked out and overdone by ill-informed 
manufacturers. The rococo of Chippendale is coarsened, his 
Chinese style loses its fine, if eccentric, distinction, and the 
inlay of Hepplewhite and Sheraton is another example of 
spoiling a beautiful thing. Thickening a line here and there, 
or curving a curve a bit more or less, or enlarging the amount 
of inlay, achieves a vulgarity of appearance quite different 
from the beautiful proportions of the originals, and it is this 
which one must guard against in buying reproductions. The 
lack of knowledge of correct proportion is not confined to the 
cheaper grades, where necessary simplicity is often a pro- 
tection, but is apt to be found in all. The best makers, as 
I have said, take a pride in their work and one can rely on 
them for fine workmanship and being true to the spirit of 
the originals. 

There is one matter of great importance to be kept in 
mind and practiced with the sternest self-control, and that 
is, to eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. Walk into the center of 



130 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

a room and look about with seeing, but impersonal eyes, and 
you will be astonished to find how many things there are 
which are unnecessary, in fact, how much the room would be 
improved without them. In every house the useless things 
which go under the generic name of " trash " accumulate 
with alarming swiftness, and one must be up with the lark 
to keep ahead of the supply. If something is ugly and spoils 
a room, and there is no hope of bringing it into harmony, 
discard it ; turn your eyes aside if you must while the deed is 
being done, but screw your courage to the sticking point, 
and do it. She is, indeed, a lucky woman who can start from 
the beginning or has only beautiful heritages from the past, 
for the majority of people have some distressingly strong 
pieces of ugly furniture which, for one reason or another, 
must be kept. One sensible woman furnished a room with 
all her pieces of this kind, called it the Chamber of Horrors, 
and used it only under great stress and strain, which was 
much better than letting her house be spoiled. 

A home should not be a museum, where one grows ex- 
hausted going from one room to another looking at wonder- 
ful things. Rather should it have as many beautiful things 
in it as can be done full justice to, where the feeling of sim- 
plicity and restfulness and charm adds to their beauty, and 
the whole is convincingly right. The fussy house is, luckily, 
a thing of the past, or fast getting to be so, but we should all 
help the good cause of true simplicity. It does not debar 



A GENERAL TALK 131 

one from the most beautiful things in the world, but adds 
dignity and worth to them. It does not make rooms stiff 
and solemn, but makes it possible to have the true gayety and 
joy of life expressed in the best periods. 



Georgian Furniture 



Georgian Furniture 

A DELIGHTFUL renaissance of the Georgian 
period in house decoration is being felt more and 
more, and every day we see new evidence that 
people are turning with thanksgiving to the light and grace- 
ful designs of the eighteenth century English cabinet-makers. 
There is a charm and distinction about their work which ap- 
peals very strongly to us, and its beauty and simplicity of 
line makes delightful schemes possible. 

The Georgian period seems especially fitted for use in our 
homes, for it was the inspiration of our Colonial houses and 
furniture, which we adapted and made our own in many ways. 
The best examples of Colonial architecture are found in the 
thirteen original states. In many of these houses we find an 
almost perfect sense of proportion, of harmony and balance, 
of dignity, and a spaciousness and sense of hospitality, which' 
few of our modern houses achieve. The halls were broad 
and often went directly through the house, giving a glimpse 
of the garden beyond ; the stairs with their carefully thought-, 
out curve and sweep and well placed landings, gave at once 
an air of importance to the house, while the large rooms open- 
ing from the hall, with their white woodwork, their large fire- 

135 



136 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

places, and comfortable window-seats, confirmed the impres- 
sion. 

It is to this ideal of simple and beautiful elegance that 
many people are turning. By simplicity I do not mean pov- 
erty of line and decoration, but the simplicity given by the 
fundamental lines being simple and beautiful with decora- 
tion which enhances their charms, but does not overload 
them. Even the most elaborate Adam room with its ex- 
quisite painted furniture, its beautifully designed mantel and 
ceiHng and paneled walls, gave the feeling of delightful and 
beautiful simplicity. This same feeling is expressed in the 
furniture of Louis XVI, for no matter how elaborate it may 
be, it is fundamentally simple, but with a warmer touch than 
is found in the English furniture of the same time. 

The question of period furnishing has two sides, and by 
far the more delightful side is the one of having originals. 
There is a glamor about old furniture, a certain air of fragil- 
ity, although in reality it is usually much stronger than most 
of our modern factory output, which adds to the charm. 
With furniture, as with people, breeding will out. When 
one has inherited the furniture, the charm is still greater, for 
it is pleasant to think of one's own ancestors as having used 
the chairs and tables, and danced the stately minuet, with soft 
candle-light falling from the candelabra, and the great logs 
burning on the old brass andirons. But if one cannot have 
one's own family traditions, the next best thing is to have 



GEORGIAN FURNITURE 137 

furniture with some other family's traditions, and the third 
choice is to have the best modern reproductions, and build 
up one's own traditions oneself. 

The feeling which manj^ people have that Georgian furni- 
ture was stiff and uncomfortable is not borne out by the 
facts. The sofas were large and roomy, the settees delight- 
ful, the arm-chairs and wing chairs regular havens of rest, 
and when one adds the comfort which modern upholstery 
gives, there is little left to desire. Even the regulation side- 
chair of the period, which some think was the only chair in 
very common use, is absolutely comfortable for its purpose. 
Lounging was much less in vogue then than nowadays and 
the old cabinet-makers realized that one must be comfortable 
when sitting up as well as when taking one's ease. One must 
not be deterred by this unfounded bugaboo of discomfort if 
one wishes a room or house done after the great period styles 
of the eighteenth century. With care and knowledge, the 
result is sure to be delightful and beautiful. 

This little book, as I have said before, is not intended to be 
a guide for collectors, for that is a very big subject in itself, 
but is meant to try to help a little about the modern side of 
the question. There are many grades of furniture made, 
and one should buy with circumspection, and the best grade 
which is possible for one to afford. The very best reproduc- 
tions are made with as much care and knowledge and skill 
as the originals, and will last as long, and become treasured 



138 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

heirlooms like those handed down to us. They are works of 
art like their eighteenth century models. The wood is 
chosen with regard to its beauty of grain, and is treated and 
finished so the beauty and depth of color is brought out, 
and the surface is rubbed until there is a soft glow to it. 
If one could have the ages-old mahogany which Chip- 
pendale and his contemporaries used, there would be little 
to choose between the originals and our best reproductions, so 
far as soundness of construction and beauty of detail go. 
But the fact that they were the originals of a great style, 
that no one since then has been able to design any furniture 
of greater beauty than that of England and France in the 
eighteenth century, and that we are still copying it, gives an 
added charm to a rare old chair or sideboard or mirror. The 
modern workman in the best workshops is obliged to know 
the different styles so well that he cannot make mis- 
takes, and if he ventures to take a little flight of fancy on his 
own account, it will be done with such correctness of feeling 
that one is glad he flew; but few attempt it. In the lower 
grade of reproductions one must have an eagle eye when buy- 
ing. I saw a rather astounding looking Chippendale chair 
in a shop one day, with a touch of Gothic ^ — a suspicion of 
his early Dutch manner ^— ^ and, to give a final touch, tapering 
legs with carved bellflowers! *' WHiat authority have you 
for that chair ? " I asked, for I really wanted to know what 
they would call the wonder. 



GEORGIAN FURNITURE 139 

" That," the shopman answered, the pride of knowledge 
shining in his eyes, " is Chinese Chippendale." 

Another anachronism which has appeared lately, and sad 
to say in some of the shops that should know better, is painted 
Adam furniture with pictures on it of the famous actresses 
of the eighteenth century. The painting of Angelica KauiF- 
man, Cipriani, Pergolesi and the others, was charming and 
delightful. Nymphs and cupids, flowers, wreaths, musical 
instruments, and poetical little scenes, but never the head of 
a living woman ! The bad taste of it would have been as ap- 
parent to them as putting the picture of Miss Marlowe, or 
Lillian Russell on a chair back would be to us. 

The finish is another matter to bear in mind. There is a 
thick red stain, which for some mysterious reason is called 
mahogany, which is put on cheaper grades of furniture and 
finished with a high polish. Fortunately, it is chiefly used 
on furniture of vulgar design, but it sometimes creej^s in on 
better models. Shun it whenever seen. The handles must 
be correct also, and a glance at the difl'erent illustrations 
will be of help in this matter. 

The pieces of furniture used throughout a house, no mat- 
ter what the period may be, are more or less the same, so 
many chairs, tables, beds, mirrors, etc., and when one has de- 
cided what one's needs are, the matter of selection is much 
simplified. Of course one's needs are influenced by the size 
of the house, one's circumstances, and one's manner of life. 



140 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

To be successful, a house must be furnished in absolute har- 
mony with the life within its walls. A small house does not 
need an elaborate drawing-room, which could only be had 
at the expense of family comfort; a simple drawing-room 
would be far better, really more of a living-room. In a large 
house one may have as many as one wishes. 

A house could be furnished throughout with Chippen- 
dale furniture and show no sign of monotony of treatment. 
The walls could be paneled in some rooms, wainscoted in 
others, and papered in others. This question of paper is 
one we have taken in our own hands nowadays, and althought 
it was not used much before the late eighteenth and early 
nineteenth centuries, there are so many lovely designs copied 
from old-time stuffs and landscape papers, which are in 
harmony with the furniture, that they are used with perfect 
propriety. One must be careful not to choose anything with 
a too modern air, and a plain wall is always safe. 

The average hall will probably need a pair of console 
tables and mirrors, some chairs. Oriental rugs, a tall clock 
if one wishes, and, if the hall is very large and calls for more 
furniture, there are many other interesting pieces to choose 
from. A hall should be treated with a certain amount of 
formahty, and the greater the house, the greater the amount; 
but it also should have an air of hospitality, of impersonal 
welcome, which makes one wish to enter the rooms beyond 
where the real welcome waits. 







This group of old mirrors indicates the extent to which rclincniciit vi 

design was carried during the Georgian period in England — tlie time of 

the great cabinet-makers 



GEORGIAN FURNITURE 141 

The window frames of Colonial and Georgian houses were 
often of such good design that no curtains were used, and 
the wooden inside shutters were shut at night. Nowadays 
the average house has what might be called utility woodwork 
at its windows and so we cover them with curtains. These 
curtains may be of linen, cretonne, damask, or brocade, ac- 
cording to the house, and may either fall straight at the 
side with a slight drapery or shaped or plain valance at the 
top, or be drawn back from the center. A carved cornice 
or the regular box frame may be used. 

The stairs were often of beautifully polished hardwood, 
and they were sometimes covered with rugs. Large Chinese 
porcelain jars on the console tables are suitable, and other 
beautiful ornaments. 

As the drawing-room usually opens from the hall, it 
is better to keep both rooms in the same general scale of 
furnishing. The average sized drawing-room will need sofas, 
a small settee, two or three tables, one of them a gallery table 
if desired, chairs of different shapes and size, mirrors, a cabi- 
net if one has rare pieces of old porcelain, and candelabra. 
Oriental rugs, a fire screen, ornaments, and pictures, but 
these last should not be of the modern impressionistic school. 
The woodwork should be white, or light, and the furniture 
covered with damask, needlework, brocade or tapestry. 

The dining-room can be made most charming with corner 
cupboards and cabinet, a large mahogany table and side 



14fa FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

table and beautiful morocco covered chairs. Chippendale 
did not make sideboards in our sense of the word, but used 
large side tables. One of the modern designs which many 
like to use, for to them it seems a necessity, is a sideboard 
made in the style of Chippendale. The screen may be 
leather painted after " the Chinese taste," or it may be dam- 
ask. The chairs may be covered with tapestry or damask 
if one does not care for morocco. Portraits are interesting 
in a dining-room, or old prints, or paintings, and if you can 
get the old dull gold carved frames, so much the better. 
They may also be set in panels. 

The bedrooms may have either four-post canopy beds or 
low-posts beds. Chippendale's canopy beds had usually a 
carved cornice with the curtains hung from the inside. The 
other furniture should consist of a dressing-table, a chest of 
drawers to correspond with a chiffonier, a highboy, a sewing 
table, a bedside table, a comfortable sofa, a fireside or wing 
chair and other chairs according to one's need. The walls 
may be covered with either an old-fashioned or plain paper, 
— or paneled, with hangings and chair coverings of chintz or 
cretonne. The bed hangings may be of cretonne also, for 
it makes a very charming room, but if one objects to colored 
bed hangings, white dimity, or muslin or linen may be used. 

It is the art of keeping the correct feeling which makes 
or mars a room of this kind, and no pieces of markedly mod- 
ern and inharmonious furniture should be used. In furnish- 



GEORGIAN FURNITURE 143 

ing a house in Georgian or Colonial manner one need not 
keep all the rooms in the same division of the period, for 
there is a certain general air of harmony and relationship 
ahout them all, and the common bond of mahogany makes 
it possible to have a Chippendale hbrary, an Adam drawing- 
room, a Hepplewhite dining-room and a Sheraton hall, or 
any other combination desired. The spirit of all the eight- 
eenth century cabinet-makers was one of honest con- 
struction and beauty of line and workrnanship. When 
they took ideas from other sources they made them so dis- 
tinctly their own, so essentially English that there is a family 
resemblance through all their work. 

Adam decoration and furniture makes mofst delightful 
rooms. The painted satinwood furniture for dining-room, 
drawing-room and bedrooms, lends itself to lovely schemes 
with its soft golden tones, its dehghtfully woven cane chair 
backs and panels. A room on the sunny side of the house, 
with a soft old ivory colored wall, dull blue silk curtains, 
and a yellow and blue Chinese rug, would be most charming 
with this satinwood furniture. 

Then, as I have said before, there are the many different 
shades of enameled and carved furniture and also beautiful 
natural wood. One can have more of a sideboard in an 
Adam than in a Chippendale room, as he used two pedestals, 
one at each end of a large serving-table. He often made 
tables to fit in niches, which is a charming idea. 



144j furnishing THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

An Adam mantel is very distinctive and one should be 
careful in having it correct. There are beautiful reproduc- 
tions made. The lamp and candle shades should also be de- 
signed in the spirit of the time. There are lovely Adam 
designs in nearly all materials suitable for hangings and 
chair coverings. Oriental rugs or plain colored carpets ap- 
peal to us more than large-figured rugs. Adam sometimes 
had special rugs made exactly reproducing the design of 
the ceiling, but it is an idea that is better forgotten. 

With Hepplewhite and Sheraton the same general ideas 
hold ; keep to the spirit of the furniture, try to have a central 
idea in the house furnishing, so that the restful effect of 
harmony may be given. 

The rugs which harmonize best with Georgian furniture 
are Orientals of different weaves and colors, or plain do- 
mestic carpet rugs. The floor should be the darkest of the 
three divisions of a room — the floor, the walls, the ceiling, 
but it should be an even gradation of color value, the walls 
half-way in tone between the other two. This is a safe gen- 
eral plan, to be varied when necessity demands. In drawing- 
rooms hght and soft colors are usually in better harmony 
than dark ones, and a wide and beautiful choice can be made 
among Kermanshah, Kirman, Khorasan, Tabriz, Chinese, 
Oman rugs, and many others. It is more restful in effect if 
the greater part of the floor is covered with a large rug, but if 
one has beautiful small rugs they may be used if they are 





These copies of rare old pieces of furniture are of the best. The 

choice of wood, the carving, the inlay, all show the highest ideals. 

The Chinese Chippendale table shows the pagoda efifect, and the 

Hepplewhite desk has the charm of a secret drawer 




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GEORGIAN FURNITURE 145 

enough alike in general tone to escape the appearance of be- 
ing spotty. One should try them in different positions un- 
til the best arrangement is found. 

Living-rooms and libraries are usually more solid in color 
than drawing-rooms and so need deeper tones in the rugs. 
The choice is wide, and the color scheme can be the deciding 
note if one is buying new rugs. If one already has rugs 
they must be the foundation for the color scheme of the room. 



Furnishing With French Furniture 



WmmtaeBSBteeBec 




'Irowbndge & Livingston, architects 

The beauty and dignity of the painted over-door is well shown in this drawing- 
room 



Furnishing With French Furniture 

^ ^FTTIHIS is my Louis XVI drawing-room," said a 
I lady, proudly displaying her house. 

"What makes you think so?" asked her 
well informed friend. 

To guard against the possibility of such biting humor one 
must be ever on the alert in furnishing a period room. It is 
not a bow-knot and a rococo curve or two that will turn a 
modern room, fresh from the builder's hands, into a Louis 
XV drawing-room, 

French furniture is not appropriate to all kinds of houses, 
and it is often difficult to adapt it to circumstances over 
which one has no control. The leisurely and pleasant cus- 
tom of our ancestors of building a house as they wished it, 
and what is more, living in it for generations, is more or less 
a thing of the past. Nowadays a house is built, and is com- 
plete and beautiful in every way, but almost before the house- 
warming is over, business is sitting on the doorstep, and so 
the family moves on. We, as a nation, have not the com- 
fortable point of view of the English who consider their home, 
their home, no matter how the outside world may be behav- 
ing. Their front doors are the protection which insures 
their cherished privacy, and the feeling that they are as set- 

149 



150 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

tied as the everlasting hills gives a calmness to their attitude 
tow^ard life which is often missing from ours. How many 
times have we heard people say when talking over plans * — < 
" Have it thus and so, for it would be much better in case we 
ever care to sell." This attitude, to which of course there 
are hundreds of exceptions, is an outgrowth of our busy life 
and our tremendous country. The larger part of the home 
ideal is the one which Americans so firmly believe in and 
act upon ■■ — • that it is the spirit and atmosphere which makes 
a home, and not only the bricks and mortar. 

It is this point of view which makes it possible for many 
of us to live happily in rented houses whose architecture and 
arrangement often give us cold shivers. We are not to 
blame if all the proportions are wrong; and there is a certain 
pleasure in getting the better of difficulties. 

If one is building a house, or is living in one planned with 
a due regard to some special period, and has a well thought 
out scheme of decoration, the work is much simplified; but 
if one has to live in the average nondescript house and wishes 
to use French furniture, the problem will take time and 
thought to solve. In this kind of house, if one cannot change 
it at all, it is better to keep as simple and unobtrusive a 
background as possible, to have the color scheme and hang- 
ings and furniture so beautiful that they are a convincing 
reason themselves of the need of their being there, but one 
should not try to turn the room itself into a period room. 



FURNISHING WITH FRENCH FURNITURE 151 

for it would mean failure. The walls may be covered with 
a light plain paper, or silk, the woodwork enameled white or 
cream or ivory, and then with one's mirrors and furnishings, 
the best thing possible has been done, and it ought to be a 
charming room, if not a perfect one. If one can make a 
few changes I advise new lighting fixtures and a new mantel, 
for these two important objects in the room are conspicuous 
and nearly always wrong. 

It is almost impossible to give a list of furniture for each 
room in a house, as each house is a law unto itself, but the 
fundamental principles of beauty and utility and appropri- 
ateness apply to all. 

The furniture of the time of Louis XIV, having so much 
that is magnificent about it, is especially well suited to large 
rooms for state occasions, great ballrooms and state draw- 
ing-rooms. These rooms not being destined for everyday 
use should be treated as a brilliant background; paneling, 
painting, tapestry, and gilding should decorate the walls, 
and beautiful lights and mirrors should aid in the effect of 
brilliancy. It must be done with such knowledge that there 
is no suggestion of an hotel about it. Console tables, and 
large and dignified chairs should be used for furniture. 
Nothing small and fussy in the way of ornaments should be 
put in the rooms, for they would be completely out of scale 
and ruin the effect. 

Every house does not need these rooms for the elaborate 



15a FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

side of life, and the average drawing-room is a much simpler 
affair. If both kinds are required the simpler one should 
be in the same general style as the great rooms, but not on 
so grand a scale. If the style of Louis XV is chosen for 
all, in the family drawing- and living-rooms the paneling, or 
dado, and furniture should be of the simpler kind, and beau- 
tiful, gay, and home-like rooms, evolved with soft colored 
brocades, Beauvais or Gobelin tapestry, and either gilded 
or enameled or natural walnut furniture. The arm-chairs 
or hergeres of both Louis XV and Louis XVI are very 
comfortable, the chaise-longue cannot be surpassed, and the 
settees of different shapes and sizes are delightful. There 
need be no lack of comfort in any period room, whether 
French or English. 

A music room, to be perfect, should not have heavy drap- 
eries to deaden the sound, and the window and door open- 
ings should be treated architecturally to make this possible. 
In a French music room the walls may be either paneled, 
or have a dado with a soft tint above it. This space may be 
treated in several ways: it may have silk panels outlined 
with moldings, or dainty pastoral scenes painted and framed 
with wreaths and garlands of composition. The style of the 
Regency with its use of musical instruments for decorative 
motifs is also attractive. The chairs should be comfortable, 
the lights soft and well shaded side-lights, with a plentiful 
supply near the piano. 




A beautiful doorway in the bedroom of the Empress. Compiegne. The fasten- 
ing shows how much thought was expended on small matters, so the balance of 
decoration would be kept. The chairs are Louis XVI 




An exquisite reproduction of the bed of Marie 
Antoinette 




A simple but charming Louis XVI bed in enamel 
and cane 



FURNISHING WITH FRENCH FURNITURE 153 

A piano is usually a difficulty, for they are so unwieldy 
and dark that they are quite out of key with the rest of the 
room. We have become so used to its ugliness, however, 
that, sad to say, we are not so much shocked by it as we 
should be, thinking it a necessary evil. If we walk through 
the show rooms of one of the great piano companies we shall 
see that this is a mistake, for there are many cases made of 
light colored woods, and some have a much more graceful 
outline than the regulation piano. Cases can be made to 
order to suit any scheme, if one has a competent designer. 
A music room should not have small and meaningless orna- 
ments in it; the ideal is a restful and charming room where 
one may listen with an undistracted mind. 

The modern dining-room with all its comforts is really of 
English descent. In France, even in the eighteenth century, 
only the palaces and great houses had rooms especially set 
apart for dining-rooms. Usually a small ante-chamber was 
used, which served as a boudoir or reception room between 
meals. To our more established point of view it seems a very 
casual method. At last, late in the century, the real ideal of 
a dining-room began to gain ground, and although they were 
very different from ours, we find really charming ones de- 
scribed and pictured. The walls were usually light in tone, 
paneled, with graceful ornamentation, and often there were 
niches containing wall-fountains of delightful design. The 
sideboards were either large side-tables, or a species of side- 



154 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

table built in niches, with a fountain between them which was 
used as a wine cooler. These fountains where cupids and 
dolphins disported themselves would be a most attractive fea- 
ture to copy in some of our rooms, in country houses espe- 
cially. The tables were round or square, but not the exten- 
sion type which came later from England, and the chairs were 
comfortable, with broad upholstered or cane seats, and rather 
low backs. There should be a screen to harmonize with the 
room in front of the pantry door. We also add hangings, 
for, as I have said many times, our window-frames are not 
a decoration in themselves. Old prints show most delight- 
fully the manner in which curtains were hung when they 
were used; the very elaborate methods, however, were not 
used by the better class. 

A morning-room should be furnished as a small informal 
living-room, and the simpler style of the chosen period used. 

The style of Louis XVI is beautifullj^ adapted to li- 
braries, for they do not have to be dark and solid in style, as 
many seem to think. In fact a library may be in any style 
if carried out with the true feeling and love of books, but of 
course some styles are more appropriate than others. In a 
Louis XVI library the paneling gives way to the built-in 
bookcases which are spaced with due regard to keeping the 
correct proportions. There is usually a cupboard space run- 
ning round the room about the height of a dado and project- 
ing a little beyond the bookcases above. The colors of the 



FURNISHING WITH FRENCH FURNITURE 155 

rugs and hangings may be warm and rich as the books give 
the walls a certain strength. 

There are also beautiful reproductions of bedroom furni- 
ture, chairs and dressing-tables, desks, chiffoniers and 
Chaises-longues, and beds. 

Andirons, side-lights for the walls and dressing-table, 
doorknobs and locks, can all be carried out perfectly. 
Lamp and candle shades and sofa cushions should all be 
in keeping. The walls may be paneled in wood enameled 
with white or some light color, or they may be covered with 
silk or paper, in a panel design, with curtains to match. 
There are lovely designs in French period stuffs. 

The rugs most appropriate for French period rooms are 
light or medium in tone, and of Persian design. The floral 
patterns of the Persians seem to harmonize better with the 
curves and style of furniture than do the geometrical de- 
signs of the Caucasian rugs. Savonnerie and Aubusson 
rugs may also be used, if chosen with care, and the plain 
carpets and rugs mentioned later are a far better choice 
than gaudy Orientals of modern make, or bad imitations. 



Craftsman Furniture 



Craftsman Furniture 

FOR the greater part of the nineteenth century art in 
household decoration did not exist. " Early Vic- 
torian " threw its baleful influence over all, and the 
houses were ugly and the rooms of false proportions, the fur- 
niture bad in design, usually of black walnut with bunches 
and knobs of supposed ornament upon it, the carpets were 
overpoweringly bright with huge figures, the curtains were 
so festooned that they became useless for their purpose. 
The fact that it was considered possible to put magenta and 
scarlet side by side, points the moral of the tale of ugliness. 
At last human nature could stand it no longer, and William 
Morris, that benefactor of mankind, came to the rescue. He 
worked early and late trying to teach the ideal of beauty to 
a public almost blind from the glare of ugliness. Slowly 
things grew better, until now we of the twentieth century 
think that we have some right to sit in judgment. Out of 
the chaos have come several results, all with the same end in 
view *— the beauty and comfort of the home. First we have 
awakened to the high artistic and constructive standards of 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and welcome the 
many reproductions of French and English furniture of 
those times. Another result has been to inspire a great 

159 



160 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

wish to form a new style of decoration, which is shown in the 
" Art Nouveau " movement in Europe. It is founded on 
the idea of growth in nature, long beautiful curves, which 
unfortunately are not always applicable to furniture. The 
best work is done in Europe, and we see very little of it here. 
It is still in its infancy and as time goes on will probably im- 
prove. Some already has beauty and fine feehng for de- 
sign, and the lovely color schemes of inlaid wood and metal 
give a charm to some of the finished examples which a picture 
quite fails to convey. The larger part, however, has, to my 
mind, too much restlessness of line given by the endless 
curves, and the many ugly inappropriate designs necessi- 
tate awkward and often faulty construction, and make it a 
style which one, so far, can quite easily do without. The 
development of " Ai't Nouveau " in England is called 
" Quaint," and is often worse than its Continental relation. 
In America the best development of all has appeared in 
our really worthy Craftsman or Mission furniture. It is 
simple, straightforward, and honest in construction, and 
nothing could be better for the bungalow type of house, for 
certain living-rooms, dens, and libraries, in some types of 
country house. It is heavy furniture both in effect and 
reality, and in buying it one should be careful to get only 
the best kind, for there are several grades. The best makes, 
as I have said, have real worth and beauty when in their cor- 
rect surroundings, and with appropriate curtains and rugs 




The touch of the well-traiiud craftMiiaTi sliows in this fire-corner 



CRAFTSMAN FURNITURE 161 

and cushions make delightful and home-like interiors. The 
woodwork must harmonize with the furniture, and there 
must be nothing dainty or delicate in the decoration or orna- 
ments. Plain walls, or if a figured paper is desired, a low 
toned one with no startling design to it should be chosen. 
There are some good paneled effects, and leather paper is 
also good to use, while dull warm gold over a wainscot is 
beautiful in certain rooms. 

The rich dark tones of Bokhara rugs go beautifully with 
Craftsman furniture, as do also Khivas, Kurdistans, and 
Beluchistans. There are many makes of domestic rugs 
which are also appropriate. 

The curtains may be velours, or arras cloth or heavy linen, 
or cretonne, or other stuff ; the choice is wide, and a couched 
or stenciled design is often added. The cushions should be 
simple in shape and rich in color, and form a part of the 
color scheme of the room, and it is almost needless to say 
they should not be pictorial. The lamps and ornaments 
should be brass or copper or pottery, and all ornaments 
must be kept in key and scale; a Dresden clock, 
for instance, no matter how lovely it is, would be entirely 
out of place in such a room. Books there should be in abun- 
dance, and also magazines, and of great importance is an 
open fire for winter days. 



Country Houses 




A hall to conjure with— although a Hepplewhite or Sheraton chair would b( 

more in keeping 




A very rare block-front cliest of drawers with the original brasses 



Country Houses 

THE Country House is a comparatively modern idea, 
and one which has added much to the joy of Hfe. 
There are all kinds and conditions of them, great and 
small, grand and simple, and each is a joy to the proud pos- 
sessor. 

Life was such a turbulent affair in the Middle Ages that 
country life in the modern sense was an impossibility. The 
chateaux and castles and large manor-houses were strongly 
fortified, and there were inner courts for exercise. When 
war became the exception and not the rule, the inherent love 
in all human beings for the open began to assert itself, and 
the country house idea began to grow. 

Italy was the first country where we find this freedom of 
attitude exemplified in the beautiful Renaissance villas near 
Rome and Florence. The best were built during the six- 
teenth century, and were owned by the great Italian families 
like the de Medici and d'Este. They seem more like places 
built for the parade and show of life than homes, but the 
home ideal with all its conveniences was another outgrowth 
of peace. 

The plan of an Italian villa is very interesting to study, 

165 



166 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

to see how every advantage was taken of the land, how the 
residence, or casino, was placed in regard to the formal 
garden and the view over the valley, for they were usually on 
a hillside and the slope was terraced, how the statues and 
fountains, the beautiful ilex and cypress and orange trees, 
the box-edged flower-beds and gravel paths, all formed a 
wonderful setting for the house, and together made a perfect 
whole. The Italian villa was not necessarily large, in fact 
the Villa Lante contains only six acres, which are divided 
into four terraces, the house being on the second and built 
in two parts, one on each side. Each terrace has a beautiful 
fountain, with a cascade connecting those on the fourth and 
third. This villa is indeed, an example of taking advantage 
of a fairly small space. It was built by the great Vignola in 
1547, and although slightly showing the wear of time, has all 
the beauty and charm and romance which only centuries can 
give. 

The Italian villa can be adapted to the American climate 
and scenery and point of view, but it must be done by one 
of the architects who have made a deep study of the Italian 
Renaissance so the true feeling will be kept. There are some 
beautiful examples already in the country. 

In France, the chateaux which have most influenced coun- 
try house building are those which were built during the 
sixteenth century, many of them during the reign of Francis 
1st. Among the number are Azay le Rideau, Chenonceaux, 



COUNTRY HOUSES 167 

and Chaumont. Blois and Amboise are also absorbingly in- 
teresting, but belong partly to an earlier time. The chateau 
region in Touraine is a treasure land of architectural beauty. 
In the time of Louis XIV Le Notre changed many of these, 
old chateaux from their fortified state to the more open form 
made possible by a peaceful hfe. 

We turn to England for the most perfect examples of 
country houses, for the theory of country living is so thor- 
oughly understood there, one might really say it is a national 
institution. Many of the manor-houses, both great and 
smaU, are beautiful examples of Tudor architecture, which 
seems especially suited to their setting of lovely green parks. 
The smaller country house, which has no pretention to being 
a show place, is as perfect in its way. The English love for 
out-of-doors makes them achieve wonders with even small 
gardens, and the climate, being gentle, helps matters im- 
mensely. 

In America we are taking up the English country house 
ideal more and more and adapting it to our own needs. The 
question of architecture is a question of personal choice influ- 
enced by climate, and there are now numberless charming 
houses scattered over the length and breadth of the land 
which have been built with the purpose of being country 
homes. They are not for surmner use only, but all the year 
round keep their hospitable doors open, or else the season be- 
gins so early and ends so late, that, with the holiday time be- 



168 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

tween, the house hardly seems closed at all. It is this atti- 
tude which is changing country house architecture to a great 
extent. The terraces and porches and gardens and glass- 
houses are all there, but the house itself is more solidly built 
and is prepared to stand cold weather. 

For the average American the best types of country house 
to choose from are the smaller Tudor manor-houses, Italian 
villas, Georgian architecture in England, and our own Co- 
lonial style which of course was founded on the Georgian. 
In the south and southwestern parts of this country a modi- 
fied Spanish type may be used in place of Tudor, which does 
not give the feeling of cool spaces so necessary in hot climates. 
The bungalow type is also popular in the South. 

There are many architects in this country who understand 
thoroughly the plan and spirit of Colonial times, and who 
succeed in giving to the comforts of modern days the true 
stamp of the eighteenth century. The style makes most de- 
lightful houses, and with the great supply of appropriate 
furniture from which to choose, it would be hard to fail in 
having a charming whole. 

The house and garden should be planned together to have 
the best effect. Each can be added to as time goes on, but 
when a plan is followed there is a look of belonging to- 
gether which adds greatly to the charm. 

In an all-the-year country house a vestibule is a necessity 
as much as in a town house, and the hall should be treated 




A library door which shows how those who understand the true spirit 
of the Renaissance make use of it in modern homes 



COUNTRY HOUSES 169 

with the dignity a hall deserves, and not as a second living- 
room. In many English houses of Tudor days the stairs 
were behind a carved screen, or concealed in some manner, 
which made it possible to use the hall as a gathering place. 
Our modern hall is not a descendant of this old hall of a past 
day (the living-room is much more so), but is really only a 
passage, often raised to the nth power, connecting the dif- 
ferent rooms of the house, and should be treated as such. 
The stairs and landing and vista should be beautiful, and 
the furnishing should be dignified and in perfect scale vrith 
the rest of the house. Marble stairs and tapestry and old 
carved furniture and beautiful rugs, or the simplest pos- 
sible furniture, may be used, but the hall should have an 
impersonally hospitable air, one which gives the keynote of 
the house, but reserves its full expression until the privacy 
of the living-rooms is reached. 

The average country house is neither very magnificent 
nor very simple, but strikes the happy medium and achieves 
a most delightful home-like charm, which at the very outset 
makes life seem well worth living. It is rarely furnished 
in a period style throughout, but has the modern air of com- 
fort which good taste and correct feeling give. For in- 
stance, the hall may have paneling and Chippendale mir- 
ror, a table, and chairs; the living-room furnished in a gen- 
eral Colonial manner mixed with some comfortable stuffed 
furniture, but not over-stufFed, lovely chintz or silk hang- 



170 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

ings, and a wide fireplace; the morning-room on something 
the same plan, but a little less formal; and the drawing- 
room a little more so, say in Adam or simple Louis XVI 
furniture. The library should have plenty of comfortable 
sofas and chairs, and a large table (it is hard to get one too 
large), some of the bookcases should be built in to form 
part of the architectural plan of the room, and personally 
I think it is a better idea to have all the space intended for 
bookcases built in in the first place, as this insures harmony 
of plan. Another important thing in a hbrary is to have 
the lights precisely right, and the window-seats and the fire- 
place should be all that their names imply in the way of 
added charm and comfort to the room. The dining-room 
should be bright and cheerful and in harmony with the 
near-by rooms. A breakfast-room done in lacquer is very 
charming. 

The bedrooms should be light and airy, and so planned 
that the beds can be properly placed. They may be fur- 
nished in old mahoganj^ French walnut in either Louis XV 
or XVI style, or in carefully chosen Empire ; painted Adam 
furniture is also lovely, and willow furniture makes a fresh 
and attractive room. The curtains should be hung so they 
can be drawn at night if desired, and the material should 
be chosen to harmonize in design with the room. 

The children's rooms should be sunny and bright and 
furnished according to their special tastes, which if too- 



COUNTRY HOUSES 171 

astounding, as sometimes happens, can be tactfully guided 
into safe channels. 

The servants should be given separate bedrooms, a bath- 
room, and a comfortable sitting-room beside their dining- 
room. Making them comfortable seems a simple way of 
solving the servant question. 

The bungalow type of small country house is usually very 
simply furnished, and the best type of Mission furniture 
or willow is especially well suited to it. Bungalows are 
growing more and more in favor, and, although they orig- 
inated in America in the West, we find delightful ones every- 
where, on the Maine coast and in the woods and mountains. 
They are a tremendous advance over the small and elaborate 
house of a few years ago. 

Cretonne and chintz can be used in all the rooms of a 
countrj^ house with perfect propriety, and is a really lovely 
method of furnishing, as it is fresh and washable, and comes 
in all gradations of price. Willow furniture with cretonne 
cushions makes a pleasant variety with mahogany in simple 
rooms. 

Fresh air and sunlight, lovely vistas through doors and 
windows of the garden beyond, cool and comfortable rooms 
furnished appropriately, and with an atmosphere about them 
which expresses a hospitable and charming home spirit, is 
the ideal standard for a country house. 











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The Nursery and Play-room 



The Nursery and Play-room 

WE "^Kould be thankful that the old idea of a nursery 
has passed away and instead of the dreary and 
rather shabby room has comei the charming mod- 
ern nursery with its special furniture and papers, its common 
sense and sanitary wisdom and its regard for the childish 
point of view. The influence of surroundings during the 
formative years of childhood has a deal to do with the child's 
future attitude toward life, and now that parents realize this 
more, the ideal nursery has simplicity, charm and artistic 
merit, all suited to the needs of its romping inhabitants. 

The wall-papers for nurseries are especially attractive 
with their gay friezes of wonderful fairy-tale people. Mother 
Goose, Noah's Ark and happy little children playing among 
the flowers. Some of the designs come in sets of four panels 
that can be framed if desired. A Noah's Ark frieze with the 
animals marching two by two under the watchful eyes of the 
Noah family, with an ark and stiff little Noah's Ark trees, 
will give endless pleasure if placed about three feet from the 
floor where small tots can take in its charm. If placed too 
high, it is very often not noticed at all. Some of the most 
attractive nurseries have painted walls "v^dth special designs 
stenciled on them. 

175 



176 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

If any one of these friezes is placed above a simple wain- 
scot, the effect is charming. The paper for nurseries is 
usually waterproof, for a nursery must be absolutely spick 
and span. Another thing that gives much pleasure in an 
nursery is to build on one side of the room a platform about 
a yard wide and six inches high, and cover it with cushions. 
The furniture in a day nursery should consist of a toy 
cupboard stained to match the color scheme of the room and 
large enough for each child to have his own special compart- 
ment in it. If the children's initials are painted or burned 
on the doors, it gives an added feeling of pride in keeping 
the toys in order. There are many designs of small tables 
and chairs made with good lines, and the wicker ones with 
gay cretonne cushions are very attractive. The tables and 
chairs should not have sharp corners and should be heavy 
enough not to tip over easily. There should be a bookcase 
for favorite picture-books. Besides the special china for the 
children's own meals there should be a set of play china for 
doll's parties. A sand table, with a lump of clay for model- 
ing, a blackboard and, in the spring, window-boxes where 
the children can plant seeds, will all add vastly to the joy of 
life. 

And do not forget a comfortable chair for the nurse-maid. 
White muslin curtains with side hangings of washable chintz 
or linen or some special nursery design in cretonne should 
hang to the sill. 



THE NURSERY AND PLAY-ROOM 177 

The colors in both day and night nurseries should be soft 
and cheerful, and the color scheme as carefully thought out 
as for the rest of the house. Both rooms should be on the 
sunny side of the house, and far enough away from the fam- 
ily living-room to avoid any one's being disturbed when 
armies charge up and down the play-room battle-ground or 
Indians start out on the warpath. 

The best floor covering for a day nursery is plain linoleum, 
as it is not dangerously slippery and is easily kept clean. 
If the floor is hard wood, it must not have a slippery wax 
finish. It will also save tumbles if the day nursery has no 
rugs, but the night nursery ought to have one large one or 
several small ones by the beds and in front of the open fire. 
Washable cotton rugs are best to use for this purpose. 

When children are very small, it is necessary to have sides 
to the beds to keep them from falling out. The beds should 
be placed so that the light does not shine directly in the chil- 
dren's eyes in the morning, and there should be plenty of 
fresh air. The rest of the night nursery furniture should 
consist of a dressing-table, a chest of drawers, a night table 
and some chairs. There should be a few pictures on the 
walls hung low, and beautiful and interesting in subjects 
and treatment. The fire should be well screened. 

Pictures like the " Songs of Childhood," for instance, 
would be charming simply framed. If there is only one 
nursery for both day and night use, the room should be deco- 



178 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

rated as a day nursery and the bed-cover made of white 
dimity with a border of the curtain stuff or made entirely 
of it. 



Curtaim 



Curtains 

THE modern window, with its huge panes of glass and 
simple framework, makes an insistent demand for cur- 
i tains. Without curtains windows of this kind give 

a blank, staring appearance to the room and also a sense of 
insecurity in having so many holes in the walls. The beau- 
tiful windows of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
in Italy, England and France, give no such feeling of incom- 
pleteness, for their well-carved frames, and over-windows, 
and their small panes of glass, were important parts of the 
decorative scheme. Windows and doors were more than 
mere openings in those days, but things have changed, and 
the hard lines of our perfectly useful windows get on our 
nerves if we do not soften them with drapery. In that hope- 
less time in the last century called " Early Victorian," when 
black walnut reigned supreme, the curtains were as terrify- 
ing as the curves of the furniture and the colors of the 
carpets. Luckily most of us know only from pictures what 
that time was, but we all have seen enough remnants of its 
past glories to be thankful for modern ways and days. The 
over-draped, stuiFy, upholstered nightmares have entirely 
disappeared, and in their place have come curtains of a high 

181 



183 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

standard of beauty and practicality — simple, appropriate, 
and serving the ends they were intended for. 

The effect of curtains must be taken into account from 
both the outside and the inside of the house. The outside 
view should show a general similarity of appearance in the 
windows of each story, in the manner of hanging the curtains 
and also of material. The shades throughout the house 
should be of the same color, and if a different color is needed 
inside for the sake of the color scheme, either two shades 
should be used or they should be the double-faced kind. 
Shades should also be kept drawn down to the same line, or 
else be rolled up out of sight, for there is nothing that gives 
a more ill-kept look to a house than having the shades and 
curtains at any haphazard height or angle. 

And now to " return to our muttons." The average win- 
dow needs two sets of curtains and a shade. Sometimes a 
thin net or lace curtain, a " bonne femme" is hung close to 
the glass, but this is usual only in cities where privacy has to 
be maintained by main force, or where the curtains of a floor 
differ greatly. Thin curtains in combination with side cur- 
tains of some thicker material are most often used. 

Curtains either make or mar a room, and they should be 
carefully planned to make it a perfect whole. They must 
be so convincingly right that one only thinks at first how 
restful and pleasant and charming the whole room is; the 
details come later. When curtains stand out and astound 



CURTAINS 183 

one, they are wrong. It is not upholstery one is trying to 
display, but to make a perfect background for one's furni- 
ture, one's pictures and one's friends. 

There are so many materials to choose from that all tastes 
and purses can be suited; nets, thin silk and gauzes; 
scrims and batistes ; cotton and silk crepes, muslin or dotted 
Swiss, cheesecloth, soleil cloth, madras, and a host of other 
fascinating fabrics which may be used in any room of the 
house. The ready-made curtains are also charming. There 
are muslin curtains with applique borders cut from flowered 
cretonne; sometimes the cretonne is applique on net which is 
let into the curtain with a four-inch hem at the bottom and 
sides. A simpler style has a band of flowered muslin sewed 
on the white muslin, or used as a ruffle. It is also added to 
the valance. There are many kinds of net and lace cur- 
tains ready for use that will harmonize with any kind of 
room. Some of the expensive ones are really beautiful ex- 
amples of needlecraft, with lace medallions and insertions 
and embroidery stitches. 

When it comes to the question of side curtains the supply 
to choose from is almost unlimited, and this great supply 
forms the bog in which so many are lost. A thing may be 
beautiful in itself and yet cause woe and havoc in an other- 
wise charming room. There are linens of all prices, and 
cretonnes, both the inexpensive kind and the wonderful 
shadow ones; there are silks and velvets and velours, aurora 



184 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

cloth, cotton crepe and arras cloth, and a thousand other 
beautiful stuffs that are cheap or medium-priced or expen- 
sive, whose names only the shopman knows, but which win 
our admiration from afar. The curtains for a country house 
are usually of less valuable materials than those for a town 
house, and this is as it should be, for winter life is usually 
more formal than summer life. Notliing can be prettier, 
however, for a country house than cretonne. It is fresh and 
dainty and gives a cool and delightful appearance to a room. 
Among the many designs there are some for every style of 
decoration. 

The height and size of a room must be taken into account 
in hanging curtains, for with their aid, and also that of wall- 
paper, we can often change a room of bad proportions to one 
of seemingly good ones. If a room is very low, a stripe 
more or less marked in the design, and the curtains straight 
to the floor, will make it seem higher. A high room may have 
the curtains reach only to the sills with a valance across the 
top. This style may be used in a fairly low room if the 
curtain material is chosen with discretion and is not of a 
marked design. If the windows are narrow they can be 
made to seem wider by having the rod for the side curtains 
extend about eight inches on each side of the window, and 
the curtain cover the frame and a part of the wall. This 
leaves all the window for light and air. A valance connect- 
ing the side curtains and covering the top of the net curtains 




The dignity of the shaped valance is required in formal rooms 



CURTAINS 185 

will also make the window seem broader. A group of three 
windows can be treated as one by using only one pair of side 
curtains with a connecting ruffle, and a pair of net curtains 
at each window. Curtains may hang in straight lines or be 
simply looped back, but fancy festooning is not permissible. 
There is another attractive method of dividing the curtains 
in halves, the upper sections to hang so they just cover the 
brass rod for the lower sections, which are pushed back at 
the sides. These lower sections may have the rod on which 
they are run fastened to the window-sash if one wishes. 
They will then go up with the window and of course keep 
clean much longer, but to my mind it is not so alluring as a 
gently blowing curtain on a hot day. I have seen a whole 
house curtained most charmingly in this manner, with cur- 
tains of unbleached muslin edged with a narrow little ruffle. 
They hung close to the glass and reached just to the sill with 
the lower part pushed back at the sides. The outside view 
was most attractive, and the inside curtains varied according 
to the needs of each room. 

Casement windows should have the muslin curtains drawn 
back with a cord or a muslin band, and the side curtains 
should hang straight, with a little top ruffle; if the windows 
open into the room the curtains may be hung on the frames. 
The muslin curtains may be left out entirely if one wishes. 
Net curtains on French doors should be run on small brass 
rods at top and bottom, and the heavy curtains that are 



186 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

drawn together at night for privacy's sake should be so hung 
that they will not interfere with the opening of the door. 
There should be plenty of room under all ruffles or shaped 
valances where the curtains are to be drawn to allow for easy 
working of the cords, otherwise tempers are liable to be sud- 
denly lost. 

All windows over eighteen inches wide need two curtains, 
and the average allowance of fullness is at least twice the 
width of the window for net and any very soft material, 
while once and a half is usually enough for material with 
more body. Great care must be taken to measure curtains 
correctly and have them cut evenly. It is also a good plan 
to allow for extra length, which can be folded into the top 
hem and will not show, but will allow for shrinking. 

Stenciling can be very attractively used for curtains and 
portieres for country houses. Cheesecloth, scrim, aurora 
cloth, pongee, linen, arid velours, are a few of the materials 
that can be used. The design and kind used in a room should 
be chosen with due regard to its suitability. A Louis XVI 
room could not possibly have arras cloth used in it, while it 
would be charming and appropriate in a modern bungalow. 
Arras cloth with an applique design of linen couched on it 
makes beautiful curtains and portieres to go with the Mis- 
sion or Craftsman furniture. 

There is an old farmhouse on Long Island that has been 
made over into a most delightful country house, and the 



CURTAINS 187 

furnishing throughout is consistent and charming. The 
curtains are reproductions of old designs in chintz and cre- 
tonne. The living-room, with its white paneling to the ceil- 
ing, its wide fireplace, old mahogany furniture, and curtains 
gay with parrots and flowers, hanging over cool white mus- 
lin, is a room to conjure with. 

In town houses the curtains and hangings must also har- 
monize with the style of furnishing. When the windows are 
hung with soft colored brocade, the portieres are usually 
beautiful tapestry or rich toned velvets, and care is always 
taken to have the balance of color kept and the color values 
correct. There are silks and damasks and velvets, and many 
lesser stuffs, made for all the period styles, whether carried 
out simply or elaborately, and it is the art of getting the 
suitable ones for the different rooms which gives the air of 
harmony, beauty, and restfulness, for which the word home 
stands. 

In hanging these more formal curtains the shaped valance 
is usually used with the curtains hanging straight at the sides 
of the window, so they can be drawn together at night. The 
cords and pulleys should always be in perfect working order. 
Another method is to have the curtains simply parted in the 
center, either with a valance or without, and drawn back at 
the sides \\dth heavy cords and tassels, or bands of the stuff. 
If a draped effect is desired great care must be taken not to 
have it too elaborate. 



188 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

If the walls of a room are plain in color one may have 
either plain or figured hangings, but if the wall covering is 
figured it gives a feeling of unrest if the curtains are also 
figured. Sometimes one sees bedrooms and small boudoirs 
where the walls and curtains show the same design, but it 
must be done with skill, or disaster is sure to follow. 

Plain casement cloth or the different " Sunfast " fabrics 
are attractive with plain or figured papers, especially in bed- 
rooms of country houses. 

If one has to live in the town house through the summer 
do not make the fatal mistake of taking down the curtains 
and living in bare discomfort during the hot season. If the 
curtains are too handsome to be kept up, buy a second set of 
inexpensive ones that can be washed without injury. It is 
better that they should stop the dust, and then go into the 
tub, than that one's lungs should collect it all. Curtains are 
useful as well as ornamental, and a house without them is as 
dreary as breakfast without coffee. 



Rugs 



Rugs 

IN solving the rug problem for our homes one must look 
the matter squarely in the face and decide how far one 
can wander in the Oriental field, for where Oriental rugs 
are, there is beauty also; they are works of art, things to be 
treasured and to be thankful for. Machinery has made 
many things possible for us, it has simplified, and also com- 
plicated life, it has made the East and West, the North and 
South, close neighbors, it has harnessed the air and electric- 
ity, but for all its wonder it is dependent on the brain and 
hands of man. There is no machine in all the world, how- 
ever, that has made anything so beautiful as a Persian rug, 
fashioned by the ten clever fingers of an Oriental directed by 
his patient and beauty-loving soul and mind. 

One of the charms of rug lore is the feeling that back of 
a rug stands a personality, the history of a family, a tribe, a 
whole people, stretching far away into the past. The wild 
and warlike tribes of the frontier, as well as the more peace- 
ful dwellers of the towns, had their special colors and pat- 
terns which descended from generation to generation. The 
wandering tribes of Asia have, since the earliest times, used 
rugs for all their household furnishings. They used them 
for curtains, for seats and beds, and saddle coverings, for 

191 



192 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

prayer rugs and funeral rugs, and as seats of honor. The 
antique Hamadan rugs were " hearth " or " home " rugs and 
were looked upon as sanctuary by the tribe. If a fugitive 
once reached the sheik's tent and touched the rug the tribe 
was in honor bound to protect him. 

The looms upon which the rugs were woven were, and still 
are, of the rudest construction, uprights supporting two hori- 
zontal poles on which the warp threads were stretched. In 
front of these looms sat the women tying in the knots one by 
one, slowly developing a work of art. In some districts a 
simple musical chant is sung to help the weavers tie the knots, 
and the fineness of the rug depends upon the number of 
knots in a square inch, a coarse Turkish rug having as few as 
thirty or forty, and a fine Persian as many as four or five 
hundred to the square inch. Rugs are still made in the old 
way. Children of six and seven begin to learn by tying in 
solid colors, and slowly advance until they can be trusted 
with the designs, and then a whole rug. There are two 
kinds of knot used — the Senna or Persian, and the Ghiordes 
or Turkish. The Senna has a thread of the pile coming up 
between every warp thread, and makes a very close and fine 
pile which can be closely trimmed, and shows the design until 
almost the last thread is gone. The Ghiordes knot has the 
pile thread come up between every two threads of the warp, 
which makes a coarser rug and necessitates a longer pile to 
cover the warp. This longer pile, becoming untwisted, gives 




A rare antique Persian rug. depicting the Judgment of Solomon. It came 
originally trom the Shah's palace, measures about 6x9 ft. and is valued at $3,500 



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RUGS 193 

a very beautiful silky sheen to some Turkish rugs. For some 
reason the finest wool is found on the sheep and goats of 
Turkey and Persia and the country around the Caspian Sea. 
It is collected at certain times of the year, and washed and 
washed in soft water, then covered with flour paste and then 
washed again. It is then dried in the sun and wind, picked 
apart, and then spun. The skeins are again washed and 
soaked in a mordant and dyed with vegetable dyes. These 
dyes are made with great care, and certain famihes had the 
secret of certain colors, passing it down as a valued posses- 
sion. It was a great honor to be a famous dyer. It is an 
interesting fact that in antique Persian rugs where black was 
used to outline the design it has entirely disappeared, letting 
the warp show in its place. The other colors only grow more 
beautiful with the softening efl"ect of time. 

The use of aniline dyes is unfortunately creeping into 
many rug districts, but is strictly forbidden in Persia and 
Smyrna, and is punishable with a heavy fine. Russia has 
not been so particular in her new possessions, and one thinks 
with dread of the harm she may do in Persia. 

A well and properly washed rug, and a chemically washed 
rug, are two quite different propositions. There is a great 
love in the Orient for strong colors, and man}^ of the most 
beautiful soft toned antique rugs were probably very bright, 
indeed, in the days of their youth. The vegetable dyes in 
use are beautiful, but bright colors, and a new rug is often 



194 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

too vivid for Western taste, so it has to be washed to soften 
and tone it to the required standard. Trustworthy dealers 
have a process by which this is done without injury to the 
rug. It simply washes out all the superfluous dye, and leaves 
fast colors, vnthout injuring the life or elasticity of the wool. 
There are not many good modern rugs which have not been 
washed, but it is safe to buy them only of reputable dealers 
whose methods can be trusted. If an antique rug is washed 
it loses a great part of its value. 

The chemically washed rug is put upon the market for the 
simple reason of deceiving the buyer. If it is made to look 
old and faded enough it can be sold to the unwary as an 
antique at a greatly advanced price. A rug chemically 
" washed " or " doctored " is first stretched on an inclined 
platform and a solution of chlorine water is allowed to trickle 
over it. When the colors are sufficiently subdued the rug is 
dampened with glycerine and water and ironed with hot irons 
to give it luster. Some say that rugs are buried and dragged 
in the dirt to give them the required look of age. There is 
a harsh feeling to a chemically treated rug and the back is 
much brighter in color than the pile, while the threads are 
also brighter at the base than on the surface and often a 
different color, as aniline dyes seem to separate as they 
change. Green, being made from yellow and blue, will have 
the blue depart and leave the yellow behind, for instance. 
Vegetable dyes fade to a lighter shade of the same color. 



RUGS 195 

A chemically washed rug has lost many years of its life. 

One must be on one's guard and buy only from trusted 
dealers whose reputations stand back of their wares, and who 
will not ask you to pay for an antique and sell you a modern 
badly washed rug. The look of age is beautiful, but antiques 
are rare, and manufactured age is often only a waste of 
money. To be an antique, a rug must be at least fifty years 
old, for it takes about that length of time to soften and tone 
it to its full beauty. The gems of the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries are almost impossible to find and are worthy 
of a place in museums. 

Both Turks and Persians are Mohammedans, but belong 
to different branches of the faith. The Turks are Sun- 
nites, and believe that if they make anything in the form of 
a living creature they will have to give it their soul on the 
day of Judgment, hence their designs are geometrical. The 
Persians, who are of the more liberal Shiite sect, are troubled 
by no such ideas, and birds and beasts and beautiful floral 
forms appear in their designs. The wonderful old and very 
rare royal hunting rugs show most realistic scenes of the 
chase in full swing. 

It is interesting to try to follow out the meaning of the 
diif erent designs. Many, of course, are quite hidden from 
us, but from the rest we can piece together much of deep in- 
terest. A Persian rug is often supposed to represent a 
garden. The loop, or pear, or palm design, has several 



196 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

meanings, and one may take one's choice. Some say it is 
from the loop of the sacred river of India as it is seen wind- 
ing its glittering way across the plain, and this would explain 
why it is so often filled with floral forms ; some say it is from 
the palm; others say it originated with the fire-worshipers 
and represents a flame. It is the beautiful form seen on old 
cashmere shawls. To follow out a little more of the symbol- 
ism found in rugs we find that the rosette, used in borders 
and to form other designs, is based on a wild flower, which we 
call the Star of Bethlehem. The cypress tree was used on 
funeral rugs, and lamps and animals and flowers are often 
conventionalized so successfully that they form the most sat- 
isfactory designs. The swastika, common to nearly all the 
world, means health, happiness and good luck. The circle 
means eternity; a six-pointed star means Allah, a meander- 
ing line or border means the continuity of life; and when a 
bead or tassel is found fastened into the center or border it 
is to keep off" the evil eye; and so it goes on, making a rug 
a book, or a page from the worker's life and belief. The 
whole rug is supposed to represent eternity, and that is why 
we so seldom find the old patterns with a plain field, — for to 
make all eternity a blank would be indeed a dreary thing, 
and the weaver scattered flowers and figures over it to insure 
happiness. 

One of the most beautiful rugs in the world is the sacred 
carpet of Ardebil, now at the South Kensington Museum. 



RUGS 197 

It is 34'6''xl7'6^'' and its soft and rich tones of blue and yel- 
low ivory are used in a beautiful floral design, while great in- 
terest is added to it by the inscription in a medallion in the 
border: " I have no refuge in the world other than thy 
threshold. jMy head has no protection other than this porch 
way. The work of the slave of this holy place, Maksond of 
Kashan, in the year of the Hegira 946." (A.D. 1540.) This 
rug was nearly the cause of a rupture between England and 
Persia in the days of Queen Elizabeth, for the ambassador 
she sent considered himself insulted when he was asked to 
wear slippers over his shoes when he stepped upon its sacred 
and beautiful surface. 

Persian rugs are divided into several sections, according to 
the neighborhood in which they are made — Kirman and 
Kirmanshah, Tabriz, Senna, Khorassan, Meshed, Shiraz, 
Saraband, Gorevan, Hamadan, and others. 

Kirmanshah and Kirman are beautiful in texture with a 
soft and mellow richness of color, and a delicacy and sureness 
of design which makes them among the most perfect rugs 
made. There is usually a medallion center surrounded by a 
field of ivory, covered with lovely floral designs in soft pinks 
and greens and blues. There are several borders all beauti- 
fully shaded. These rugs come in all sizes, from small mats 
to large carpet size, and are especially suited to drawing- 
rooms and reception-rooms where French or Georgian fur- 
niture is used. 



198 FURNISHING THE PIOME OF GOOD TASTE 

The modern Tabriz rug is not so beautiful as the Kirman- 
shah or Khorassan as it does not keep to the old standards 
either in color or design, but shows a strong European influ- 
ence. The texture is firm and they are closely clipped and 
seldom show any luster. They come in all sizes, and one can 
have any design or color scheme carried out to order. An 
antique Tabriz rug has great beauty, and shows the graceful 
floral design which is characteristic of Persia. 

Senna rugs are among the finest antique or modern rugs 
made, and come in only a few designs, either the all-over 
pattern of the palm or " fish " design; or one with the center 
divided into medallions. There are usually three borders, 
the center one wider than the others. The colors are soft and 
subdued, and beautifully blended: reds, yellows, blues, pink, 
ivory, green. The pile is closely clipped and is of silky wool. 
They are rarely larger than 5x8. 

Khorassan rugs bear all the marks of the highest Persian 
ideal. The wool is very fine and silky, the soft rich colors 
of old blue and a wonderful soft red, are used chiefly as back- 
ground ' colors in the field on which the floral designs are 
placed. Often a medallion is placed on a plain field with 
the four corners cut ofi^, and again the floral design will cover 
the whole field. There is apt to be a slight unevenness in the 
clipping, causing the pattern to stand out a little more dis- 
tinctly. The sides are overcast and the ends finished with 
fringe. This rug is suitable for drawing-rooms where one 



RUGS 199 

wishes stronger tones than Kirmanshah rugs give. They 
are well adapted to libraries, living-rooms and halls, and 
country houses^— -and come in all sizes. 

Meshed, the capital of Khorassan, is a sacred city, for the 
shrine of the prophet Iman Riza is there ; it was the home of 
the great Haroun-al-Raschid and of Omar Khayyam. The 
religious influence is very strong, and not only are beautiful 
rugs made there, but many are brought from other parts of 
Persia, as offerings. In design they are much like the 
Khorassan rugs, but are lighter in color and more closely 
clipped. They come in all sizes up to very large carpet size. 

Shiraz rugs are made in so many floral and geometrical de- 
signs that it is often hard to distinguish them. Two dis- 
tinctive marks, however, are that the sides are overcast in two 
colors, and the ends are usually finished with a colored 
selvage and long fringe. They usually have a dark blue 
field with flowers and birds and animals in greens, blues and 
yellows. They come in medium and some carpet sizes. 

Saraband rugs are still made after the old patterns. 
The design is made up of rows of small palm pattern facing 
in opposite directions, and this central field is bounded by 
many borders. The colors are dark blue, rich red, rose, and 
ivory. They come in all sizes and would be very attractive 
in living-rooms, dining-rooms, libraries, and halls, 

Ghorevan rugs are made in the district of Heraz, and 
the modern product, for a wonder, are often superior to the 



200 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

old. The designs and colors are bold and strong, but har- 
moniously blended, the colors being chiefly blue, green, red, 
ivory, and brown. They come in carpet sizes. 

Serapi and Bakshaish rugs are made in this district 
also, but are finer grade and softer in color. They come 
only in large sizes about 8 x 10 up to 15 x 25. No dainty 
or delicate furniture could be used in a room with them. 
They would be good for living- and billiard-rooms, bunga- 
lows and certain country homes. 

Hamadan rugs of modern makes are coarse in texture. 
The design is usually a medallion in the center with cut off 
corners, and several borders bounded by a plain band of 
camel's hair. 

TURKISH RUGS 

Turkish rugs are made in Asia Minor, chiefly in Anatolia 
and Kurdestan, and the Ghiordes knot is generally used. 
The designs are geometrical, as no animal forms are allowed 
by religion to be depicted. 

Constantinople is the great rug center of the Orient, for 
there are gathered together all the rugs from the difl*erent dis- 
tricts, and there the buyers from all over the world come to 
haggle and bargain. The real gems are growing scarcer and 
scarcer, but the demand for Oriental rugs is steadily growing 
greater as people in general are becoming better acquainted 
with their beauties. It is this great demand which has 





Antifine Anatolian 



Fine silk Persian 




A rare antique Saraband rug, 6 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. ;? in., valued at $1,000 



,s--;t«!sasss 




An antique Chinese rug in wonderful blues and 

tans, showing some of the happy symbolism 

that is common to Chinese art 



RUGS 201 

opened the door to commercialism and introduced the use 
of aniline dyes. Unfortunately the standard was not gen- 
erally high enough nor the knowledge great enough on the 
subject among Americans and Europeans when the tide 
turned in that direction. The great mass of the people, still 
dazzled by the bright colors of the Victorian era, were not 
so alive to the dangers of aniline dyes. Now, however, they 
are rapidly becoming educated in rug lore, and the demand 
is for the old ideals of beauty of color and design and 
texture. This may have led to the evils of washing, but we 
may hope that is only a step in the right direction. In 
many parts of Asia Minor, the home of the Turkish rug, 
the old methods of weaving and dyeing are still carried on. 
The lately deposed Sultan established a school where beauti- 
ful antiques are copied and the designs carefully studied, 
and the pupils thoroughly trained in all the ideals of 
the past, but simplified as much as possible by modern 
methods. 

The antique Ghiordes prayer rug is one of the most 
beautiful rugs ever made, and examples of it are very rare 
and precious, in fact they are worthy of being wall hangings 
where one can feel their great beauty of color and design. 
The center of the rug was a plain color, blue, green, yellow, 
red, or ivory, and gave the color tone to the whole rug. The 
mosque door, or prayer point, was supported on two columns, 
and from the point hung a temple lamp, while the spandrils 



202 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

were fitted with floral designs. There were usually three 
borders, and sometime seven, or more, with narrow strips 
between, which gave a lovely effect to the whole. The pile 
was closely cut and was almost without luster. They were 
about four by six feet. The modern Ghiordes cannot com- 
pare in any way these treasures of a past day. 

Prayer rugs are made by nearly all rug weavers, as they 
are used by all the Faithful, and when the call to prayer 
comes the rug is laid upon the ground with the point toward 
Mecca and the true believer prostrates himself with his 
forehead on the point and his hands outstretched. Many 
rugs have the hands worked into the design. When there 
are two or more niches the rug is meant for several people 
to use at once. 

Kulah prayer rugs are much like the Ghiordes, but dif- 
fer in having a floral pattern running the length of the field 
and there is also a slight difference in the shape of the arch. 
These antique Kulahs are also far superior to the modern 
make, and like the antique Ghiordes are worth a small for- 
tune. The modern Kulah in spite of its coarse texture is 
made of long silky wool and is one of the better grades of 
Turkish rugs, although some aniline dyes are used. They 
come in carpet size. 

The antique Bergamo is also much prized, and the 
modern ones have merits in the way of a beautiful sheen. 
The field is usually covered with medallions and geometrical 



RUGS 203 

patterns and wide borders. The colors are rather bright, 
but of medium value. 

Bokhara rugs are the best known of the Turkoman 
rugs, and are of a uniform geometrical design repeated regu- 
larly over the field and finished with geometrical borders, 
usually the same design in a different size. The color is a 
rich dark red or wine color. They come in many sizes, 
sometimes fairly large, and are beautiful for living-rooms, 
libraries, dining-rooms, and other rooms where a warm beau- 
tiful red is desired. 

Beluchistan rugs come in lovely shades of soft dark 
blue and rich red, with geometrical figures in brown, ivory, 
green, and maroon, with a bluish tone over all. They come 
in small and hearth rug size. 

Antique Indian rugs were founded on Persian designs 
with the Hindu feeling giving them a characteristic touch. 
The colors were strong, but beautifully blended and har- 
monious. 

The modern Indian rug is made chiefly in factories, with 
vegetable dyes and of the best materials. The old designs 
are not strictly adhered to, as any and all are copied, and 
any special colors wished for will be used. They are made 
in all sizes. 

Chinese rugs are a study of soft blues and yellows and 
ivory and wonderful soft reds, and are among the most beau- 
tiful rugs in the world. They are well balanced in design 



S04> FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

and full of interesting symbolism, for they worked their 
religious symbols into their rugs, and the " eight precious 
things," and the " eight lucky emblems " the bat, the stork, 
fishes, the prune, different flowers and trees and many other 
things are all there with their meanings of long life, eternity, 
prosperity, and happiness. There is a golden glow or bloom 
over them which is quite impossible to describe, and which 
must be seen to be appreciated in its full beauty. 

This necessarily very short account of Oriental rugs leaves 
out many kinds which should be mentioned, and also the 
necessary descriptions of and classification of them. It is 
such a big subject in itself that space forbids it being more 
than touched upon, but I hope that anyone who is planning 
to buy Oriental rugs will care to know more of the subject. 
Many valuable books of plates and text and wonderful 
collections in many museums and private houses, may be 
thoroughly studied, so that one of our household necessities 
may have, for all, the life and interest which the subject pos- 
sesses. 

The price of modern Oriental rugs varies from about $1.50 
to $10.00 a square foot ; some are more and some less. There 
is no fixed price for antiques, as so many questions enter into 
the matter, but they are difficult to get, at best, and well 
worth the prices asked, which range from about $10.00 to 
several hundreds a square foot. 

The following short list will give an idea of the cost of 



RUGS 205 

modern rugs as sold in the general market. Kirmanshah 
$1.75 to $6.00 a square foot, Kirman $2.00 to $5.00, 
Khorassan $1.50 to $3.50, Gorevan $1.25 to $3.50, Tabriz 
$3.00 to $10.00, Senna $2.00 to $6.00, Saraband $2.00 to 
$6.00, Daghestan $1.00 to $3.00, Khiva Bokhara $1.25 to 
$2.00, Tekke Bokhara $2.00 to $6.00, Beluchistan $1.00 to 
$2.50, Chinese .25 to $5.00. 

The Shahristan is one of the finest modern Oriental rugs 
made, as they are absolutely reliable, and any design can be 
copied. The colors are beautiful, and the pile is fine. They 
cost $5.00 and $9.00 a square foot, and defy wear. They 
are the kind to become valued antiques in the course of time. 

It is one of the minor tragedies of Hfe to know and love 
Oriental rugs, and not be able to have them for one's own, 
for it takes real philosophy to see them in all their beauty 
and then to stay contented with a domestic imitation. 

The great carpet and rug manufacturers have wakened to 
the necessity of floor covering of good design and are trying 
to meet the demand and give us cause for real content, and in 
the last few years giant strides have been taken in domestic 
rug making. Many of these rugs have real worth and beauty 
of design and color, and are close copies, so far as machinery 
allows, of Oriental ones, and are really far better than some 
of the crude and ugly ones which are sold at high prices 
simply because they come from the Orient. 

Plain carpets or rugs are apt to be much more satisfactory 



206 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

in effect in many rooms than figured carpets or rugs, and 
there are several makes which are durable and beautiful in 
texture and color. They can be made in any size with a two- 
toned or band border and match any color scheme. They 
make a restful and charming foundation for a room. They 
range in price from $3.00 to $15.00 a square yard. 

Among the best makes of domestic rugs are Whittal's 
Anglo-Persian, and others; Hartford- Saxony rugs; the dif- 
ferent rugs made by the Bigelow company ; all of these firms 
make rugs of the best grade, and if one chooses with care 
and with due regard to the color, one may well be satisfied 
with the result. There are many grades of Axminster, and 
Inverness or Scotch reversible are both useful and charming 
in many rooms, as they have a plain center and a two-toned 
border. American Aubusson carry out this same idea, and 
are cheaper. English ingrain rugs come in attractive colors 
and designs for bedrooms and country houses. There are 
other weaves of plain rugs, with borders a tone or two darker 
than the center, which are beautiful and useful, and fit with 
dignity into many schemes: in fact they are safer to choose 
than a figured rug. There is also the plain velvet carpeting 
which comes in rug width and in many beautiful colors. 
There are also many rugs made which are suitable for bunga- 
lows and simple country houses and camps, to say nothing 
of the porch, and woven rag rugs have come to stay. These 
rugs vary in price in different parts of the country, but a 



RUGS 207 

general idea may be gained by beginning with $12.00 for 
a woven rag rug up to about $95.00, all in the 9 x 12 size. 
One can buy a very good domestic rug for $50.00, or $60.00 
either in an Oriental design or one of the better grade plain 
makes. A 9 x 12 Inverness rug costs about $27.50, while 
an American Aubusson in that size costs about $18.00. Ori- 
ental rugs vary in price from about $1.50 a square foot, up 
to a much higher price, depending on the kind, the quahty, 
the number of knots to the square inch, and the age. The 
price of antiques is of course more or less arbitrary as it is 
fixed by the rarity of the rug as well as its beauty. One can 
buy a very good rug in some of the modern Turkish or Per- 
sian or Turkoman weaves in about a 9 x 12 size for from 
$200.00 to $300.00, and of course more if one wishes. The 
sizes are not absolutely cut and dried, as in machine-made 
rugs, but vary a few inches one way or the other. Antique 
Chinese rugs are among the most expensive and are so beau- 
tiful that they are well worth the price asked for them. 

So, with all the Orient, past and present, spread out 
before one, and rug manufacturers beginning to feel the im- 
portance of the opportunity, there seems to be no reason 
why we should not have beautiful floor coverings, if we Avill 
only realize that much of the solving of the problem rests 
with us. The floor and its covering is such an important part 
of the successful decoration of a house that one must never 
give up the search until just the right thing is found. In 



208 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

buying a rug the color scheme of the room must be carefully 
taken into account, so that there will be no clash and the 
floor will keep its proper place in regard to the rest of the 
room. If one already has a rug it should be the keynote to 
build the scheme upon. Rug dealers are usually willing to 
send rugs to a house on approval, so that they can be seen 
in the surroundings in which they are to be. In placing a 
rug upon the floor one is often disappointed to find the color 
wrong, but do not despair until it has been turned with the 
nap going the other way, as the light striking the rug, either 
with, or against the nap, makes a great difference in tone. 
I have seen what seemed an impossible rug turn a room into 
a perfect color harmony by this simple process. 



Making the Porch More Livable 



Making the Porch More Livable 

ONLY a few years ago a porch was a porch to the 
average person (like the famous primrose to Peter 
Bell), "and it was nothing more." Now porches 
and piazzas have come into their own and they help vastly in 
bringing more gayety and pleasantness and healthfulness 
into our lives. Wherever one turns one finds the furnished 
porch; for sleeping, for dining, for living-rooms, it may be 
large or it may be small, it may be built for the purpose, or 
it may be a makeshift, but the ideal of outdoor living is there 
and is steadily gaining ground, and everyone tries to have at 
least a small portion of the open where they can be com- 
fortable and where mosquitoes cease from troubling and 
spiders are at rest. 

The ideal porch is broad and large enough to allow one 
always to find a shady and protected spot. It should be 
so planned that it is an absolutely necessary and convincing 
part of the architecture and not an excrescence or after- 
thought that it so many times seems to be. It may be an 
open porch or have pillars supporting beams or a roof, or it 
may have only a balustrade or a low wall or coping with a 
broad and comfortable top. Low easy steps should lead to 
the driveway and garden, awnings and vines should cast a 

311 



212 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

pleasant shade, and shrubbery and gay flower borders add 
to its charm. The chairs should be so arranged that the best 
views are taken advantage of without the trouble of moving 
the furniture. 

One may not be able to have one of these large and en- 
trancing porches, but that is no reason for going without one 
entirely. A summer in town is not so bad if one can find 
some place about the house where a porch or a loggia or a 
little balcony may be tucked. With boxes of vines and 
plants on the railing, a swinging seat, a comfortable wicker 
chair, some cushions, a table and an awning or bamboo cur- 
tain if necessary, one has the possibiHty of many happy hours. 

A porch can easily be made most attractive and livable 
and really amount to an extra living-room. There are many 
different kindi^ of suitable furniture made, and it goes almost 
without saying that it should be of a kind not easily hurt by 
a sudden shower. In heavy storms it is of course pushed out 
of harm's way, but upholstery and expensive covering for 
the cushions are out of the question. 

Willow or wicker furniture is always good, and may be 
left the natural color or stained as one wishes. It is some- 
thing to be thankful for, that elaborate designs are not often 
seen nowadays ; good and simple lines are what people want, 
and it is easier to find them than it was a short time ago. 
Removable cushions covered with cretonne, linen, India cot- 
ton, Russian crash, denim, Turkey red, etc., are all used, the 




A licme-like and inviting porch. The reversible rugs are especially well suiicil 

to the purpose. 



MAKING THE PORCH MORE LIVABLE 213 

colors and materials to harmonize with the general scheme 
of the house and garden. Another kind of furniture suitable 
to porches is called India splint. It is built somewhat on 
INIission lines, but is not so heavy and is very attractive. 
Everything needed is made in it, from seats and swings to 
curate's assistants, and it is usually stained a soft and pleas- 
ant brown. Rustic or splint furniture is always good and 
can be stained any color desired; and then there is the rustic 
furniture made of branches, which, when it is well built, is 
appropriate for camps and bungalows in the woods, or for 
garden seats. Mission furniture is well suited to porches 
if it is of one of the best makes and not the ex- 
traordinarily heavy and clumsy kind that we too often see. 
Terrace furniture made of cypress and painted white is most 
attractive. There are chairs of all kinds, tables, settees, 
swings on chains, tea wagons, screens, everything, in fact, 
that can possibly be needed in these different kinds of furni- 
ture. 

The rugs that are most appropriate to use are matting and 
prairie grass, Algerian fiber, Japanese cotton and jute, 
woven and hooked rag rugs, bungalow rugs, and some Ax- 
minster and Wilton, and Scotch reversible. Very valuable 
rugs are out of place for out-of-door service as a usual thing. 

Colors for porch furnishings should take their keynote 
from the color and style of the house. The gray of con- 
crete or plaster, the soft red or beautiful variegated colors of 



n4s FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

brick, the white or yellow of Colonial houses, or the browns 
and moss greens of shingles, all call for a variation of treat- 
ment. As a general thing we can stand gayer colors out of 
doors than in the house, for the kindly atmosphere treats 
them as it does the bright colors of flowers and seems to give 
them the needed softening touch. Bright red, which can be 
used to advantage in a cool climate, is often too hot looking 
unless it harmonizes perfectly with the color scheme. Yel'^- 
low, and some greens, do not fade so rapidly as blue, but most 
pale colors vanish as if by magic in hot sun and sea air. 

Curtains of heavy material, with or without a stenciled bor- 
der, are often used to hide the service end of the house from 
view, but thick vines are really better. If one wishes a vine 
screen that will grow rapidly and last well through the season 
the Coboea is most satisfactory. 

If there is a bay-window, looking out upon the piazza, a 
window-seat built around it is a good idea. It gives many 
extra seats and is an attractive feature when covered with 
cushions to match the others. It may be like the woodwork 
or like the furniture, as one pleases. A shelf for magazines, 
with weights to keep them from blowing about, is a godsend, 
and also a nest of tea-tables will be found most useful. 

Of course we all know there are no mosquitoes in any well 
regulated summer place, but still, accidents may happen, and 
a strong wind may blow them from the little town across the 
bay, or the salt marsh five miles away — it is odd how often 



MAKING THE PORCH MORE LIVABLE 215 

that wind seems to blow, and it is well to be prepared by hav- 
ing a part of the porch screened ; it adds wonderfully to one's 
comfort. A simple way to screen a portion of the porch 
is to use black mosquito netting, six feet wide. Have it 
tacked carefully to the posts and woodwork and cover the 
edges with narrow molding painted to match the woodwork. 
One can enter from a door or French window from the 
house, and a hedge of plants across the piazza just outside 
the netting will keep people from walking into it. 

And now a word or two about sleeping-porches. The cus- 
tom of sleeping out-of-doors is becoming more and more com- 
mon, and people who have faithfully tried it all the year 
'round say that they feel fairly boxed up when obliged to 
sleep indoors. The fearful test of one's theories comes on the 
first cold night. I heard of one person who enjoyed it 
through the summer and autumn, and then one night late in 
November the mercury suddenly dropped to the neighbor- 
hood of zero. His New England conscience began to work 
on the subject of the furnace and drove him to his duty. 
Then came the tug of war. Should he crawl back into the 
fearful cold or go to his comfortable room? The porch won, 
and now all the members of the family follow his good ex- 
ample. A sleeping-porch, to be successful, should be well 
screened in summer and be as airy and open as possible. The 
couch, or couches, should be so placed that they are protected 
from the rain. Gloucester hammocks, made of canvas, 



216 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

swung on chains from the roof, are very comfortable. The 
porch should open from a well warmed dressing-room if it is 
used in winter. With flower-boxes along the railing and an 
awning it will make a very charming little upstair sitting- 
room during the day. One could get a great deal of pleas- 
ure from it for one could lie in the hammock and read in 
peace without the fear of being interrupted by a sudden 
descent of callers. 

A rival that is pressing hard upon the triumphant way of 
the porch is the paved terrace. It certainly has its charms, 
and also, like the porch, it has its drawbacks. It takes no 
light from the living-rooms of the house, but it is open to the 
weather, and in case of a sudden shower one has to fly. Awn- 
ings can of course be put up, and there is a charm and dig- 
nity about a terrace that a porch fails to give. I really think 
that both are necessary to the perfect country house. A ter- 
race usually has a stone coping with broad steps leading down 
to the garden. Shrubs in carved stone or molded terra-cotta 
jars are placed at intervals ; rugs can be spread on the tiled or 
brick pavement, carved stone seats or heavy wooden settles 
flank the walls and inviting chairs and tables stand about. 

And so I say, if one is planning to build, by all means have 
both terrace and a porch. The terraces of the great English 
houses that have taken centuries to perfect can be our models, 
and with a good architect and landscape gardener we can 
have most beautiful ones ourselves. The garden of course 



MAKING THE PORCH MORE LIVABLE 217 

adds a great charm to any porch or terrace and must be taken 
into account in planning the house. A pergola, leading from 
the porch to the garden, covered with vines, with a fountain 
in the distance, is a most alluring sight. Stone seats, jars, 
sun-dials and simple ornaments of all kinds are made for the 
garden, porch and terrace, and often give the last touch that 
makes the whole perfect. 



A List of Books on the Period 
Styles and Furnishing 

English Furniture of the 17th and 18th Centuries. L. V. 
Lockwood. 

Colonial Furniture in America. L. V. Lockwood. 

English Furniture of the 18th Century. Herbert Cescinsky. 

Chippendale Period in English Furniture. K. W. Clouston. 

English Furniture and Furniture Makers. P. S. Clouston. 

Measured Drawings of Old English Furniture. J. W. 
Hurrell. 

Colonial Furniture and Interiors. N. W. Elwell. 

Old Oak Furniture. Fred Roe. 

English Furniture. F. S. Robinson. 

Furniture of the Olden Time. F. C. Morse. 

Old Furniture Book. N. H. Moore. 

Furniture Designs of Chippendale, Hepple white and Shera- 
ton. Arthur Hay den. 

Half-Timbered Houses of the XVI and XVII Centuries. 
W. B. Sanders. 

English Furniture Designers of the 18th Century. Con- 
stance Simon. 

Dutch and Flemish Furniture. Esther Singleton. 

French and English Furniture. Esther Singleton. 

218 



A LIST OF BOOKS 219 

Furniture of Our Forefathers. Esther Singleton. 

English Furniture. T. A. Strange. 

Through Colonial Doorways. Anne Hollingsworth Whar- 
ton. 

Quest of the Colonial. Shackleton. 

Byways of Collecting. Ethel Deane. 

Lure of the Antique. W. A. Dyer. 

How to Collect Old Furniture. Frederick Litchfield. 

Craftsman Houses. Gustav Stickley. 

Period Furnishing. C. R. Clifford. 

L'J^henisterie. Henri Harvard. 

Histoire des Styles. Henri Harvard. 

French Furniture and Decoration in the 18th Century. E. 
F. Dilke. 

French Furniture. Andre Saglio. 

Le Mobilier Royal Francais aux XVIIe et XVIIIe 
Siecles. C. L. M. E. Molinier. 

Le Mohilier du Premiere Empire. Egon Hessling. 

French Interiors. T. A. Strange. 

Ornamental Details of the Italian Renaissance. G. A. T. 
Middleton. 

Italian Villas. Edith Wharton. 

Historic Ornament. Richard Glozier. 

Decorative Periods. C. R. Clifford. 

The Decoration of Houses. Edith Wharton and Ogden 
Codman. 



220 FURNISHING THE HOME OF GOOD TASTE 

Histoire de VArt Decor atif du XV le Sibcle a nos Jours. 

Arsene Alexandre. 
La Decoration. Henri Harvard. 
Rugs of the Orient. C. R. CHfFord. 
Rugs in their Native Land. Eliza Dunn. 
Oriental Rugs. J. K. Mumford. 
Rugs. R. B. Holt. 

How to Know Oriental Rugs. M. B. Langton. 
Practical Book of Oriental Rugs. G. G. Lewis. 
Eastern Carpets. V. K. Robinson. 
Bayeux Tapestry. F. R. Fowke. 
La Tapesserie. Henri Harvard. 
History of Tapestry. W. G. Thomas. 



THE END 



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